The Museum History Collection covers items relating to the Museum in each of its formations from 1854 to the present. It relates to the history of Museums Victoria's collections, research, exhibitions and the people that conducted that work. The material in the collection reveals the role the Museum has played in the history of museology, science, technology and culture both in Australia and internationally. It is motivated by the desire to encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary approaches to the development and interpretation of the Museum's collections.
The collection includes images, furniture, posters, correspondence and ephemera relevant to aspects of the public presentation of the Museum and its collection. As well as images, documents, objects and specimens which relate to the history of the Museum. There is also a significant amount of material distributed across the Museum which is yet to be assessed and registered.
The Museum History Collection is of paramount importance to understanding the history, roles and contemporary identity of the Museum over the past 158 years. Its primary significance is therefore to aid an understanding of the Museum's collections, research and exhibitions as well as the broader cultural and educational role of the institution. At the same time the themes that emerge from the collection echo similar themes within the history of museums in Australia and overseas. The Museum's collections are highly significant for what they reveal about the nature of scientific, ethnographic and historical practice at different periods.
Important sub-collections include: Cranbourne Meteorite No.1 Archive; A.J. and A.G. Campbell collections; Diorama collection; postcard collection; images of early staff, directors and board members; Nordstrom Mining Models; historic showcases; Science Museum Negatives collection; Collection Management Systems Collection; Hope Macpherson Black Collection; and the Melbourne Museum Barrie Marshall Architectural Drawing Collection.