Fiona Kinsey

Senior Curator, Images and Image Making

Fiona Kinsey
Fiona Kinsey
Source: Museum Victoria

Fiona Kinsey collects, researches and interprets material culture relating to the production and consumption of photographic products and images. Her focus is on the history of the Australasian photographic industry, and the practice of commercial and amateur photography.


Fiona Kinsey has been a collector of ephemera ever since she was a child and is fascinated by a weird and wonderful variety of historical subjects. She could not imagine a more appropriate place to work than Museum Victoria’s Humanities Department, where she has been a curator since 1998.

Fiona has worked on a wide variety of collections at Museum Victoria, ranging from photography and leisure to information technology and domestic life. In her former role as Senior Curator of Domestic and Community Life at Museum Victoria, Fiona had a particular interest in domestic technology manufacturing in Melbourne, and helped to acquire the Hecla Collection.

She has contributed to exhibitions on a diverse range of topics including The Melbourne Story, horology (clocks and watches), CSIRAC (Australia’s first computer), tools of trade, Kodak Australasia, and Museum Victoria’s Treasures.

In 2006, Fiona and a small team of curators, collection managers, public programs staff and photographers embarked on a community collecting project. The result was the Melbourne’s Biggest Family Album Collection of over 1000 images, dating from the 1880s to the 1980s.

Fiona has an Honours degree in History from La Trobe University, a Postgraduate Diploma in Museum Studies from Deakin University, and a Masters degree with first class honours in Australian Studies from the University of Melbourne.

Current activities

Fiona’s current curatorial focus is investigating the life-cycle of the photographic image in Australia – from the manufacture of equipment and products for making images, to the practice of making images, and the marketing and consumption of images. She currently is working on several research and collection projects relating to this subject. 

Kodak Heritage Collection

Fiona is working with Humanities Department staff and a volunteer team of former staff from Kodak Australasia on a long-term project to register and document the Kodak Heritage Collection. This extensive and significant collection, comprising thousands of photographs, objects, documents and moving footage relating to the company’s operation in Australia, was acquired by Fiona in 2005 from the now defunct Kodak factory in Coburg, a northern suburb of Melbourne. The collection is currently being registered and image-captured, and oral history interviews undertaken with former staff. Fiona is also involved in an international network with the keepers of other Kodak collections, including those based in the USA, Canada and UK. 

Commercial Photography Collections

With the assistance of some students and collection managers, Fiona is researching and managing collections relating to commercial photographers in Melbourne in the 19th and 20th century. These collections include the studio equipment collection of Melbourne commercial photographer Norman Wodetzki, the Jim Payens Aerial Photography image and camera collection, and the image and equipment collection relating to Robert Harvey.

Last updated 17 March 2014