The 2019 Victorian Museum Awards were presented on Wednesday 26 June at NGV International. The night was hosted by Lawrence Leung, multi award-winning Melbourne comedian, actor and screenwriter. Including a special address by Harriet Shing MP, Parliamentary Secretary for the Creative Industries

The Victorian Museum Awards, now in their 26th year, celebrate the wonderful achievements of the museum and gallery sector. This year three individuals and seven organisations were recognised with Victorian Museum awards. 



The AMaGA Victoria Award for Excellence (Volunteer)

Image: Greg Hunter, Collections Registrar, National Sports Museum presents the Award for Excellence (Volunteer) to Mrs Norma Grubb O.A.M., Benalla Historical Society. Photo: Simon Fox, Deakin University.

Winner: Mrs Norma Grubb, O.A.M: Benalla Historical Society

Norma Grubb O.A.M. was nominated for the Award for her tireless work as a volunteer at the Benalla Historical Society. Norma joined the committee of the Benalla Historical Society in 1974 bringing with her a wealth of knowledge in textiles, garment construction, needlework and a strong interest in costume history. Her skills were well suited to the needs of the Society’s large costume collection. Norma has been responsible for exhibition selection and presentation, the Society’s Accreditation policy’s, creating reproduction millinery items, care of the costume collection, and working with and training volunteers. 

Highly commended: Lyn Haupt: Museums Victoria Volunteer, Mineralogy 



The Roslyn Lawry Award For Excellence in Cultural Heritage & Museum Studies, Deakin University


Image: Professor Liz Johnson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Eduction) Deakin University presents Roslyn Lawry Award for Excellence in Cultural Heritage & Museum Studies, Deakin University to Amy MacKintosh. Photo: Simon Fox, Deakin University.

Winner: Amy MacKintosh



The Archival Survival Award for Volunteer-Run Museums (up to 1 EFT paid staff)

Angela Henricksen, Archival Survival, presents the Award to Friends of J Ward.  Photo: Simon Fox, Deakin University

Winner: Friends of J Ward for Recognition of the Friends of J Ward Volunteers in establishing and maintaining J Ward as a museum and an on-going tourist destination

The Friends of J Ward were nominated for this Award for their success in administering the development of J Ward over 26 years. The Ararat Old Gaol opened in 1861 to cater for the district’s goldrush and closed in 1886. In 1887 the building was reopened as a hospital for the ‘criminally insane’ and was known as J Ward. J Ward closed in 1991 and in 1993 the Friends of J Ward was formed as a volunteer organisation. Currently a group of 70 volunteers conduct daily tours in one of the few intact old gaols in Victoria. J Ward is a successful tourism enterprise, averaging 11,000 visitors a year. The volunteers undertake tasks including tour guiding, accounts, administration, computing, ticketing, catering, gardening, maintenance, marketing and promotion. Participation as a volunteer at J Ward allows members to develop a greater empathy and understanding of mental health and its history.


Highly commended: Geoffrey Kaye Museum of Anaesthetic History Exhibition : The Rare Privilege of Medicine: Women Anaesthetists in Australia and New Zealand


The Archival Survival Award for Small Museums (2-7 Paid Staff)

Angela Henricksen, Archival Survival, presents the Award to City Gallery, City of Melbourne staff. Photo: Simon Fox, Deakin University

Winner: City Gallery for Emblazon: Melbourne’s coat of arms

City Gallery was nominated for this Award for their Emblazon: Melbourne's coat of arms exhibition that used objects selected from the City of Melbourne’s heritage collection, with new commissions by artist’s Angela Brennan, Yhonnie Scarce and Gerry Wedd. Emblazon was curated by Alisa Bunbury to explore the coat of arms as an often-unnoticed aspect of the city’s history including its past use, continuing presence and contemporary artistic interpretations. The City of Melbourne collection is rich in coat of arms material (only one loan was required for the exhibition). One of its icon objects, a Sèvres vase donated to Melbourne by the Government of France for the 1888 International Exhibition, features Melbourne’s coat of arms and triggered the idea for this show. Three artists, with strong bodies of work in ceramics, were asked to interpret the Sèvres vase. The commissioned artworks effectively gave the exhibition a contemporary sensibility and will continue to display well as permanent items of the City of Melbourne’s heritage collection. 

Highly commended: N/A


The AMaGA Victoria Award for Medium Museums (8-50 Paid Staff)


Emily McCulloch Childs (right) presents the Award to Rohini Kappadath, General Manager, Immigration Museum and Dr Moya McFadzean, Senior Curator, Migration & Cultural Diversity, Immigration Museum. Photo: Simon Fox, Deakin University.

Winner: Immigration Museum for for their innovative and participatory LOVE exhibition.  

The LOVE exhibition was the latest step in the evolution of the Immigration Museum from a traditional migration history museum to a more participatory experience that reflects our shared experience through stories that cross time, culture, gender, age, place and sexuality. Storytellers from many walks of life were presented as individuals rather than representatives of particular groups, cultures or experiences. All stories were told by the person who lived the experience, their relative or descendant, or a contemporary community representative. LOVE dramatically increased visitation to the Immigration Museum aided by the digital guide app that was created in-house. The exhibition facilitated a collaborative partnership with Heide Museum of Modern Art, the first time the two organisations have worked together on a project. 

Highly commended: N/A 



This year three organisations were recognised with Victorian Collections Awards. These Awards acknowledge the hard work undertaken by organisations that are cataloguing their collections online using Victorian Collections and are judged on the number of artefacts catalogued, the proportion of items catalogued with accompanying photos, the quality of the records, the depth of historical research involved, and the percentage of records made public.


Dr Julie Cotter, Senior Program Manager/Victorian Cultural Collections, Creative Victoria right, presents the Victorian Collections Award to Noel Withers, Greensborough Historical Society

The Victorian Collections Award for Excellence for organisations with volunteer staff

Winner: Greensborough Historical Society

The Greensborough Historical Society collects objects, photographs, printed ephemera and oral histories relating to the past and present of Greensborough and surrounding areas. Volunteers from the Greensborough Historical Society were commended on the comprehensive documentation of an additional 676 items since July 2018, bringing the Society’s total public offering to 6,214 collection entries on the website.

Search the collection at: 

Highly commended: Kew Historical Society


The Victorian Collections Award for Excellence for organisations with paid staff

Winner: Uniting Church Archives – Synod of Victoria

The Uniting Church Archives – Synod of Victoria collection contains significant holdings of Methodist, Congregational and Presbyterian material relating to the activities and history of the organisation. The judges commended the detailed cataloguing of 533 records to the Archives’ Victorian Collections page. 

You can search the collection at:  

Highly commended: Mission to Seafarers Victoria


The Victorian Collections Award for Excellence for war heritage organisation

Winner: Melbourne Legacy

The Melbourne Legacy collection represents the history of the Legacy Club of Melbourne and the services that have been provided to the families of veterans by Melbourne Legacy from its inception to the present. Melbourne Legacy were commended for the additional 713 collection records made publicly available on Victorian Collections since July 2017.

You can search the Melbourne Legacy collection at: 

Highly commended: Montmorency-Eltham RSL Sub-Branch



Image: Harriet Shing MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Creative Industries (right), presenting a Museums Accreditation certificate to Lyn Gorman from the B-24 Liberator Memorial Australia at the Victorian Museum Awards. Photo: Simon Fox, Deakin University.

Three museum, were presented certificates for completing the gold-standard Museum Accreditation Program this year: the B24 Liberator Memorial Australia, the Johnston Collection, and the Mary MacKillop Museum. The Museum Accreditation Program (MAP) promotes best practice across all areas of museum management in line with the National Standards for Museums and Galleries. There are currently 78 organisations Accredited and a further 17 working towards this goal. 

Congratulations to all Awards and Accreditation recipients, to all Highly Commended individuals and organisations, and thank you to all our fantastic nominees. The outstanding quality of the nominations received testifies to the extraordinary vitality of the Victorian museum and gallery sector. 

> Download Awards 2019 Media Release

> Go to our Facebook page to browse the Awards photo album


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AMaGA Victoria respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work, the Woi Wurrung people and honour their Ancestors, Elders and next generations of community. AMaGA Victoria acknowledges and pays respect to the Elders of all the Nations of Victoria, past, present and emerging.