Politics & Society

Focusing on the areas of Politics and Public Protest (which includes Federation and Trade Unions), Public Events, Military History, Institutional Histories, and Religions and Societies; the Politics and Society Collection illustrates significant political, social, cultural and community events that have shaped the public experiences of all peoples of Victoria since 1835. Defining events included in the collection are: Victoria's two nineteenth-century international exhibitions, Federation, World Wars I and II, Victoria's Centenary Celebrations and the 1956 Olympics. As of 2013 there were approximately 14,765 items in the collection. It includes banners, badges, documents, regalia, souvenirs, images, realia, furniture and a wide range of other material relating to key events and places in Victoria's political, cultural and economic history.


Established in the mid-1980s the Politics and Society Collection is the most significant of its type in any Australian collecting institution. It provides 3D evidence of key state and national political and social events and charts Victoria's institutional history. The collection was originally developed around two themes: Ritual and Belief, and Working Life and Trades. From the late 1990s new sub-collections were developed in response to public commemorations, for example the centenary of Federation in 2001, the Olympic Games, the Bicentennial and Victoria's Sesquicentenary. Public institutions were identified as a focus, following the transfer of the Royal Exhibition Building (REB) Collection (REB) to the Museum in 1996. The Military History Collection was shifted from the Arms and Armour Collection in 2004.