Museum Victoria internship

About the organisation

Museum Victoria aims to takes visitors on a journey of discovery to a new world of knowledge and perspective. Scienceworks, the Immigration Museum and Melbourne Museum aspires to bring to life Australia's social and natural history and showcase Australia's cultural, scientific and natural wealth.

We will reach out to an increasingly diverse audience through our collection and associated knowledge, using innovative programs that engage and fascinate. We will contribute to our communities' understanding of the world, and undertake our stewardship of the collection in a way that ensures our inheritance is augmented and passed on to future generations. We will shape the future as a networked museum that fosters creativity.

What Museum Victoria does

Museum Victoria is responsible for the state's scientific and cultural collections, providing public access through three museums. They also oversee a wide range of research programs, the continued development of the state's collections, and run major education and research based websites. Museum Victoria is the largest public museums organisation in Australia.

As the state's museum, Museum Victoria is responsible for more than 16 million individual items. These objects are organised within two priceless collection areas – Sciences and Humanities (comprising History, Technology & Indigenous Cultures). You can view a selection from the collection on the Museum Victoria's Treasures website and the History and Technology Collections Online website.

Museums include the Melbourne Museum in Carlton Gardens, Scienceworks and Melbourne Planetarium in Spotswood, and the Immigration Museum in Melbourne's Old Customs House in Flinders Street. They are also custodians for the heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building. For more information about Museum Victoria, its venues, research, collections and associated activities see their 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: Escape from the Titanic to the ‘interminable wheat’ of Russia

Australia’s leading industrialist, H.V. McKay, was booked to travel on the Titanic.  However, an unexpected invitation to tour Russia’s vast wheatlands called him in another direction, and he cancelled his tickets. The working harvester model that McKay was travelling with was already on-board, and had been loaded with other large cargo in Belfast. This model was then retrieved from the Titanic at Southampton and accompanied H.V. McKay across Russia.

What is the story behind McKay’s close shave with disaster?  How many tickets did he have under his name? Is this harvester model the only surviving Titanic cargo that never felt the chill waters of the Atlantic? What was the outcome of McKay’s flying visit to pre-revolutionary Russia?

This project will draw on the extensive H.V. McKay Sunshine Collection, Titanic archives, and relevant Russian sources, to uncover the full story relating to McKay, the Titanic and his journey across Russia.  It will also investigate why McKay cancelled a unique voyage to travel over 3,000 miles across the ‘interminable wheat’ of Russia.  The project will involve discussions with McKay family members, analysis of the McKay archives, identifying any Russian documentation and writing short narratives that interpret this material.

Internship project 2: 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 will 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.

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 proposed duration of this internship is six weeks, with the successful candidate working approximately 7.6 hours per day, five days a week. Preferably, candidates will have 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.