In 1944, the Industrial & Technological Museum and National Museum of Victoria formally gained independence from their progenitor, the Public Library, with a separate Board of Trustees being established to manage the two 'National Museums'. Shortly afterwards, on 15 March 1945, the Industrial & Technological Museum formally changed its to the Museum of Applied Science, reflecting a transition in the institution's main fields of activity, with the earlier emphasis on artisan instruction passing to other specialised teaching colleges. Displays were modernised and the museum gained some much needed additional space, expanding from Queens Hall into the adjoining Barry Gallery, where new comprehensive displays of clocks & watches and firearms & weapons were installed. A program of topical and changing displays was introduced featuring the application of science in new fields of human endeavour from the manufacture of plastics, antibiotics and automotive engineering to atomic energy. The museum also gained custodianship of the former Melbourne Observatory that had been closed by the government at the end of WWII, allowing evening public astronomy sessions to be introduced with the assistance of honorary guides from the Astronomical Society of Victoria.
In 1961 a further transformation took place when the name was changed again to the Institute of Applied Science, reflecting at least a desire to be seen as more of a collaborator with industry, rather than merely its chronicler.
Successive name changes to the organisation throughout its history were as follows:
- Industrial & Technological Museum, 8 Sep 1870 - 15 Mar 1945
- Museum of Applied Science of Victoria, 16 Mar 1945 - 22 Jan 1961
- Institute of Applied Science of Victoria, 23 Jan 1961 - 3 Feb 1971
- Science Museum of Victoria, 4 Feb 1971 - 30 Jun 1983
- Museum of Victoria, 1 Jul 1983 - 1998
- Museum Victoria, 1998 - 2016
- Museums Victoria, 2016 - present
1. Rasmussen, C., A Museum for the People - A history of Museum Victoria and its predecessors, 1854-2000, Scribe Publications in association with Museum Victoria, Carlton, Victoria, 2001.
2. Treasures of the Museum, Victoria, Australia, Museum Victoria, 2004.
3. Perry, W., The Science Museum of Victoria: A History of its First Hundred Years, Science Museum of Victoria, Melbourne, 1972.
4. National Museums of Victoia Year Book, 1948, Trustees, Melbourne, Victoria, 1948.
5. Report of the Trustees of the Public Library, Museums and National Gallery of Victoria for 1870 to 1944 (Annual), Victorian Parliamentary Papers, Melbourne, Victoria, 1870-1945.
6. Museum of Applied Science of Victoria Annual Report, 1945 to 1951, The Trustees of the National Museums of Victoria, Melbourne, 1945-1951.
7. Museum of Applied Science of Victoria, Report of Activities, for the Year Ended 30th June 1952 to 1960 (Annual), The Trustees of the Museum of Applied Science of Victoria , Melbourne, 1952-1960.
8. Institute of Applied Science of Victoria, Report of Activities, for the Year Ended 30th June 1951 to 1969 (Annual), The Trustees of the Institute of Applied Science of Victoria , Melbourne, 1961-1969.
8. Science Museum of Victoria, Report of Activities, 1970 to 1983 (Annual), Council of the Science Museum of Victoria, Melbourne, 1970-1983.
9. Museum of Victoria Annual Report, 1983-84 to 1990-99, Council of the Museum of Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, 1984-2000.