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Melbourne’s history returns to spiritual home

20 April 2023

The City of Melbourne’s esteemed historical collection has returned to its cultural home at Melbourne Town Hall – and will be open to the public for the first time next month. 

Showcasing more than 13,000 items, the Art and Heritage collection presents an eclectic and authentic depiction of more than 188 years of Melbourne’s history.  

Located on the fourth floor at Melbourne Town Hall, the collection is housed in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment to preserve the pieces and their quality.  

The collection was previously housed at 602 Little Bourke Street, which is now turning into the City of Melbourne’s landmark Make Room project– with 50 studio apartments to be built for our most vulnerable community members.  

The collection is an evolving artwork itself and reflects the inclusiveness of our city. The public program will focus on guided tours and other special events featuring artists and curators.    

The collection was once wholly colonial in character, but now aims to capture and reflect the changing spirit of Melbourne.  

Consisting of both artworks and heritage items, it reflects Melbourne’s proud multiculturalism while also celebrating our traditional custodians of the land – our First Nations people of the Eastern Kulin. 

The City Collection Gallery comprises of:  

  • Moomba relics and artefacts 
  • Melbourne 1956 Olympic memorabilia  
  • Public and Street art 
  • Melbourne photography 
  • First Nations artists 
  • Books and plans 
  • Miscellaneous Melbourne 
  • Council and ceremonial 
  • City gifts 
  • Reliquary  

Public tours of the Art and Heritage collection will commence on Tuesday 16 May. To make a booking, visit What’s On.  

Quotes attributable to Lord Mayor Sally Capp   

“We’re pleased to be bringing this outstanding collection to its spiritual home at Town Hall – and opening it up to the community to enjoy for the first time.” 

“From the first gown worn by our Moomba Kings and Queens to original parking signs installed in our city some 150 years ago, this is a collection you can’t see anywhere else.”  

“The collection tour will take people on a journey through historical events and moments in our history, beautifully captured by some of our most famous artists and photographers.”  

Quotes attributable to Creative Melbourne portfolio lead Councillor Jamal Hakim 

“There is something in this collection for every Melburnian and curious historians alike – from one-of-a-kind relics to moments in time that will be with us forever, this is a collection that brings Melbourne to life.”  

“Our expert team has ensured this space has all the perfect conditions for these pieces to be preserved and artfully presented for many years to come.”

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