Museum Victoria internship

About the organisation

Museum Victoria’s Vision: Leading museums that delight, inspire, connect and enrich.

Who We Are: Museum Victoria is Australia’s largest public museum organisation. As the state museum for Victoria, we are responsible for looking after the State collection of more than 17 million objects, documents, photographs and specimens. The collection is an invaluable record of Victoria’s environmental and cultural history, and our amazing wealth of objects has been inspiring a sense of wonder and awe in visitors for generations. Our research, in the fields of science and humanities, uses these collections and expert staff to further what we know about the social and natural history of Victoria and beyond.

Museum Victoria’s origins date back to 1854, with the founding of the National Museum of Victoria and the establishment, in 1870, of the Industrial and Technological Museum of Victoria (later known as the Science Museum of Victoria). By proclamation of the Museums Act 1983 (Vic.), these two institutions were amalgamated to form what is known today as Museum Victoria, governed by the Museums Board of Victoria. In 1996, Museum Victoria took over custodianship of the World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building.

We present long-term and temporary exhibitions at three venues: Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks and the Immigration Museum. These exhibitions are core to our cultural and scientific programs for the people of Victoria and visitors from interstate and overseas.

Museum Victoria has been part of the lives and experiences of Victorians for more than 150 years. Over that time, we have engaged audiences and connected people with new ideas about themselves and the world around them. The ways in which the community interacts with us have evolved significantly and they continue to change.

Our Statement of Purpose: As a cherished cultural organisation, we engage in contemporary issues of relevance, interest and public benefit. Both within and beyond our museums, we encourage participation in the diversity of experiences we offer. We develop and use our knowledge, collections and expertise to build connections with and between individuals and communities to enhance understanding and a sense of belonging.

For more information about Museum Victoria, its venues, research, collections and associated activities see the Museum Victoria website and the Museum Victoria collections website.

About the internship

The Museum is offering a choice of three current research topics and related projects which sit within the Museum’s Humanities Department.

The project undertaken will have set objectives to be completed during the placement – see individual projects below. The student will also be exposed to identified cultural collections and other core museum programs, through activities such as attendance at relevant meetings, workshops or spending the day with staff from across the Museum, including curators, collection managers, educators and public programs staff, exhibition and online developers in order to get a more comprehensive picture of what their work entails. This broadening experience will also enhance the student’s understanding of the different issues currently facing the Museum’s collections, research and interpretive methodologies

The projects include a selection or combination of the following activities: Research; Collection Development and Acquisitions; Collection Documentation and Cataloguing; Exhibition Development; Online Development; Education and Public Programs Development.

Internship 1

From Puberty to the Pill: Growing Up in the Sixties

Until recently, youth culture has been an under-represented subject in the history collections of Museum Victoria, so there is now a deliberate focus to collect in this area. By chance, a remarkable collection, representing one young woman’s progression from childhood to teenager to young adult, has recently been offered to the museum. It succinctly documents her life, as well as some of the important aspects of 1960s Melbourne youth culture, including the challenges and advantages of life in the new outer suburbs, the domination of American and British popular culture, and the emerging political and social movements such as contraception and sexual freedom, conscription and the Vietnam War, and female equality and feminism.

The student project will assist in documenting the collection and making it accessible to the wider community through the Museum’s Collection Online portal. This will include researching aspects of the collection, creating online resources documenting the donor’s life, as well as constructing contextual narratives about the period and youth culture during the 1950s and 1960s. There may be the opportunity to participate in oral history sessions with the donor about her experiences during this period, as well as assisting in image capturing the collection for the Museum’s database.

The project will offer the student: access to Museum collections; research opportunities; catalogue database user training [Emu]; online publishing opportunities; and interaction with a range of Museum Victoria collections and curatorial staff.

Internship 2

Medals to die for: A History of Stokes & Sons

Commemoration, support, protest, belonging – all of these sentiments can be expressed on medals and buttons. Founded by English diesinker Thomas Stokes in Melbourne in 1856, Stokes manufactured medals, badges and buttons for nearly 160 years; diversifying into other manufactured products from the 1870s. Stokes medals and badges have captured iconic moments in Australia’s history including the ill-fated Burke and Wills Expedition, the Proclamation of the Australian Commonwealth, victory in two World Wars and the visit of Queen Elizabeth II in 1954. They also record the mundane, the everyday and the bizarre: advertising brands such as Coles and Myer, proclaiming membership of the Poodle Club of Victoria and commemorating dining in the Lion’s Den! The badge making business was sold in 2013 and in 2015 the Museum acquired a series of medal dies accompanied by company photograph albums, advertising and trade literature from Stokes. These complement the medals, tokens, buttons and badges manufactured by the company which already form part of the Museum’s collections.

This project will assist in documenting the 2015 acquisition and making it accessible to the wider community through the Museum’s Collection Online portal. This will include researching aspects of the collection, creating online resources documenting the company’s history, as well as constructing contextual narratives for key objects. There will also be the opportunity to undertake oral histories with former employees about their working life at the company.

The project will offer the student: access to Museum collections; research opportunities; catalogue database user training [Emu]; online publishing opportunities; and interaction with a range of Museum Victoria collections and curatorial staff.

Internship 3

You Push The Button - We Do The Rest: Photographic Film and Kodak Australasia

Before digital cameras, smartphones and Instagram, there was photographic film. It was made in darkness and processed in chemicals. While some people developed their film in a darkroom, the vast majority sent their rolls of film away to be processed commercially and Kodak Australasia captured most of this market.

The Kodak Heritage Collection contains objects, documents, images, oral histories and moving footage recording 20th century film manufacture and processing in Australia. The bulk of this material was collected from the Kodak factory in suburban Melbourne when it closed in 2005, and contributions continue to be made by former staff in the form of interviews and their own personal collections of work life memorabilia.

The project will draw on the Kodak Heritage Collection and research key aspects of the life cycle of photographic film in mid-century Australia - from camera, to factory, to print. Tasks will include: preparing material about this process for Museum Victoria’s Collections Online portal; contributing to written and multimedia narratives about advertising, factory technologies, &/or working life in the photographic industry (gender, culture & conditions), particularly focusing on the boom period of the 1960s & 1970s after the new and improved Kodak factory opened.

The project will offer the student intern: access to Museum collections; research opportunities; catalogue database user training [Emu]; online publishing opportunities; and interaction with a range of Museum Victoria collections and curatorial staff.

Further details

The internship will be 6 weeks in length, with a June/July start date – there is some flexibility with this to fit around student availability.

Person requirements

Students from all degree disciplines are welcome to apply, but preferably a humanities discipline degree which demonstrates the student’s research skills and an interest in history, anthropology, art history, public history or museum studies.

Language skills - Preference for fluency in English language (spoken and written)

Please note that a training and research visa is required for this internship. It will cost a minimum of approximately $360 per person to apply. It can take several months for Immigration to process the application and so you must be prepared to start this process as soon as you are advised whether you have been successful. It is quicker if the applicant lodges their visa application online.

Application instructions

When making your application for an internship with Museum Victoria you must state which project you wish to apply for and why. You can apply for more than one project by making separate applications; you should tailor your applications appropriately.