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 nearly 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 our website and the Museum Victoria collections website.

About the internship

The Museum is offering a choice of two 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]. 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.

Internship project 1: Politics & Protest: badges of allegiance

Museum Victoria has a significant collection of political protest badges chronicling national and international campaigns including the Vietnam War, Apartheid, Smoking, Nuclear Disarmament, Peace, Feminism, etc. Many of the badges were gifted by activist collectors, others acquired in a more ad-hoc fashion. To date, little research has been undertaken to fully comprehend the scope of campaigns covered by the collection, nor the motivation of the activists who displayed their allegiance to a particular cause through the wearing of badges.

The student project will assist in re-housing and 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 badges’ and owners’ histories, as well as constructing contextual narratives about national and international protest movements throughout the 20th century.

Internship project 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 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 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.

The duration of the internship will be 6 weeks, working 5 days a week for 7.6 hours

Preferably candidates will be working towards a humanities discipline degree which demonstrates the student’s research skills and an interest in history, anthropology, art history, public history or museum studies.

There is also a preference for fluency in English language (spoken and written)

Details such as start dates will be confirmed closer to the summer. Please note that a training and research visa is required for this internship. It will cost a minimum of $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.