Museum Victoria internship

About the organisation

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 three priceless collections - Sciences, Indigenous Cultures, History & Technology. 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 project undertaken will have set objectives to be completed during the placement. 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 Sale and Value of Aboriginal ‘Art’ and ‘Craft’ to Museums – the Methodists at Milingimbi

The Methodist Missionary Society of Australasia (MMSA) established stations across Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory from 1916, and by 1923 had set one up at Milingimbi, the largest of the Crocodile Island group in eastern Arnhem Land. Museum Victoria has some of the earliest collections from the period of Revd Thomas Theodor (Ted) Webb (1885-1948), who was appointed Superintendent in 1926 until he retired in 1939.

 Webb was a visionary who implemented major reforms that in time become MMSA policy. Webb was a profound thinker and replaced the dormitory system that sought to break up families and breakdown customary practices and replaced it with a cottage system of settlements where ‘residents’ were engaged in activities to earn their keep thus instilling in them a Christian work ethic. This included tending gardens and livestock or building houses and the like, but also included encouraging the production of art and artefacts for sale through the mission and support need to be economically independent. Webb sold to many museums across the world including Museum Victoria, and this marked the beginning of what is today a thriving international market in Indigenous art.

The student project will research MV’s Indigenous material from Milingimbi obtained during this early period and investigate the payment system instigated at the mission that was used to pay artists for their work. The student will consider how this reflects the reforms instituted by Webb included recognising the importance of maintaining cultural practices. It will draw on Webb’s published books, articles and booklets, archival research (including Uniting Church Archives in Melbourne), and a review of relevant literature. This project links to an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant with MV and the ANU - The Legacy of Fifty Years of Collecting at Milingimbi.

‘Ten Pound Poms’ – A Cheap Fare for a New Life in Post-War Australia

More than one million people emigrated from the UK to Australia between the 1940s and 1970s. Of those, one third returned home. Museum Victoria’s Immigration Museum is commencing planning for a new exhibition which explores this significant migrant narrative, its political, economic, and social contexts, the personal stories of the people who came, stayed or left, and the impacts and legacies of the policy-makers, community organisations and of course the migrants themselves.

The student project will contribute to the early conceptual development for the exhibition including: assessing the Museum’s existing collections relating to post-war British assisted migration, as well as other material contextualising migration from the UK across time; undertake a scan of relevant collections in Australian and UK cultural collections; undertake a review of images and audio-visual material for potential use in the exhibition; assist with a literature and archive resource review; and develop strategies for community participation in contributing exhibition content, including online ‘crowd sourcing’.

Further details

The start date is flexible as it depends on which project the successful applicant selects; the Milingimbi project will begin in June and the Ten Pound Poms project in June or July. The internship will last six weeks.

Please note that in this instance, an Occupational Training visa is required, rather than a student visa. It will cost $165 per person to apply (as the museum is already a registered sponsor). It will take at least 2 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.

A humanities degree discipline is desirable, and an interest in history, art history, public history or museum studies. Fluency in English language (spoken and written) is preferred.

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.