The 2020 Victorian Museums and Galleries Awards online presentation was held on Tuesday 8 December by AMaGA Victoria. The night was hosted by Cal Wilson, Melbourne comedian and author, including a special address by Danny Pearson MP, Minister for Creative Industries

The Victorian Museum Awards, now in their 27th year, celebrate the wonderful achievements of the museum and gallery sector. This year eight individuals and seven organisations were recognised with Victorian Museums and Galleries awards. 



The AMaGA Victoria Award for Excellence (Volunteer)

Image: Edmund Chiu, AM, courtesy of Herald-Sun. 

Winner: Edmond Chiu, A.M, Museum of Chinese Australian History

Edmond Chiu, A.M was nominated for this Award for his tireless work as a volunteer at Museum of Chinese Australian History. Edmund joined the museum as a volunteer over a decade ago and after discovering his ability to apply himself to research work, and with his deep interest in uncovering and recognising past Chinese Australians, Edmond has been invaluable in undertaking the research into Chinese Australians who served in the Australian armed service in both World Wars.

Edmond assisted in creating the Chinese ANZACs Exhibition in commemoration of the Centenary of the end of WWI. This exhibition continues to be shown across Victoria and Interstate as it has a timeless quality and value to the descendants of those who served. His research work on unrecognised Chinese Australian servicemen and women continues to this day.

Highly commended: Del Atkinson, Linton and District Historical Society and Dorothy Morgan, The Johnston Collection



The AMaGA Victoria Award for Excellence (Paid Staff)


 Image: Michael Beattie, courtesy of Indigo Shire Council.

Winner: Michael Beattie, Indigo Shire Council 

Michael Beattie has received the AMaGA Victoria Award for Excellence (Paid Staff) for his work  with the Indigo Shire Council. Michael worked for thirteen years as coordinator of the Beechworth Historic Courthouse, as part of the Burke Museum and Historic Precinct team. Michael has shown a passion for researching, recording and communicating the history of the court. He provided everyday research assistance to visitors, researchers and students as well as to other museums, documentary crews and academics.

Highly commended: Jennifer Levitt Maxwell, Jewish Holocaust Centre


The AMaGA Victoria Lifetime Achievement Award


Image: Liza Dale with Heather Mitchell's hat, 2016, courtesy of Museums Victoria.

AMaGA Victoria Lifetime Achievement Award: Liza Dale - Museums Victoria

Liza Dale has received AMaGA Victoria Lifetime Achievement Award for her work with Museums Victoria.

Liza was nominated for this Award for her curatorial work with Museums Victoria. Spanning 33 - year career with Museums Victoria, Liza had a significant and wide-reaching impact both within the museum, and more broadly throughout the wider community.

Specialising in the history of agriculture and gender in Australia–and pursing her deep interest in contemporary issues that link city and regional communities–Liza was responsible for developing a wide range of innovative collections, including: the Victorian Women on Farms Gathering Collection, the H.V. McKay Collection, Water Smart Home collection, the Victorian Bushfires Collection and more recently, the Invisible Farmer Project Collection. These collections all pushed the boundaries of curatorial practice and led to new understandings about contemporary collecting and community engagement methodology.


The AMaGA Victoria Lifetime Achievement Award


Image: Professor Harriet Edquist, A.M, courtesy of RMIT Design Archives.

AMaGA Victoria Lifetime Achievement Award: Professor Harriet Edquist, A.M - RMIT Design Archives

Professor Harriet Edquist, A.M has received AMaGA Victoria Lifetime Achievement Award for her work with RMIT Design Archives.

Harriet Edquist is a Professor of Architectural History in the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT. She has published widely on and created numerous exhibitions in the field of Australian (in particular, Victorian) architecture, art and design history. She has contributed to the production of Australian architectural knowledge as founder and editor of the RMIT Design Archives Journal and in writing or contributing to over 15 books.  

Over the course of three decades she has curated sixteen exhibitions on architectural and design history at venues including the National Gallery of Victoria, State Library of Victoria, Bendigo Art Gallery, Jewish Museum of Australia, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Monash University Gallery, the Australian Centre of Contemporary Art and RMIT Gallery.


The AMaGA Victoria Lifetime Achievement Award


Image: Peter Hoban, courtesy of Sovereign Hill Museums Association.

AMaGA Victoria Lifetime Achievement Award: Peter Hoban - Sovereign Hill Museums Association

Peter Hoban has received AMaGA Victoria Lifetime Achievement Award for her work with Sovereign Hill Museums Association.

Peter has recently retired after 27 years work at Sovereign Hill Education. He shared the role of Team Leader for the last 15 years and a significant achievement was to drive a three-fold increase in student visitor numbers during this time. Peter advocated for and designed student-centred programs focussing on: inquiry, purpose, choice and student agency.

Peter has been on the ENVi (Education Network Victoria) committee for over 15 year, establishing it as one of the most active networks in the sector. Serving as Treasurer for many of those years then President for four years until early this year. Even retired Peter remains an active member of ENVi today.


The AMaGA Victoria Lifetime Achievement Award



Image: Jean McAuslan, courtesy of Shrine of Remembrance.

AMaGA Victoria Lifetime Achievement Award: Jean McAuslan - Shrine of Remembrance 

Jean McAuslan has received AMaGA Victoria Lifetime Achievement Award for her work with the Shrine of Remembrance.

Jean McAuslan’s has had a long and rewarding career in the Australian Museums and Galleries sector. She joined the Shrine of Remembrance in 2003 after twenty years at the Australian War Memorial where she held key positions, Head of Art (1995-96) and Registrar (1999-2002). At the Shrine of Remembrance Jean assumed the role of Gallery Development Manager during the construction phase of Stage One of the Shrine of Remembrance Visitor Centre. From its opening in 1934, the Shrine of Remembrance had been viewed primarily a centre of commemoration. Jean helped establish the Shrine of Remembrance as a centre of education and learning—a venue where veterans could share stories with the wider Victorian community.

In 2012 Jean helped to secure funding for the completion of Stage Two of the Shrine of Remembrance redevelopment, the $45M Galleries of Remembrance project. In addition to acting as lead curator for the First World War Gallery, Jean provided direction to the curators developing the Second World War and Post-1945 Conflicts and Peacekeeping galleries. 

Today Jean’s legacy and vision for the Galleries of Remembrance help engage over 1 million visitors a year with the Shrine of Remembrance.


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


Image: Justin Croft, courtesy of Deakin University.

Winner: Justin Croft  


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


Image: Eve Glenn (L) and Megan Evans (R) on ladders, moving scaffolding in front of the mural, courtesy of Megan Evans Archive, photographer unknown, 1986.

Winner: Her Place Women's Museum Australia and the Women's Mural Documentation Project for 'Re-imagining the Women's Mural'

Re-imagining the Women's Mural was a collaboration between Her Place Women’s Museum Australia (Her Place) and Women’s Mural Documentation Project (WMDP) together with the artists of the 1986 Women’s Mural: From Bomboniere to Barbed Wire-Megan Evans and Eve Glenn.

This virtual mural pays homage to the history of the now demolished Women's Mural: Bomboniere to Barbed Wire, a large public artwork (150 x12 metres) created by artists Megan Evans & Eve Glenn in 1986.

The 360-degree virtual tour documents and shares the stories behind one of Australia’s most significant feminist murals, capturing its 33-year history via text, original music and images, links and audio interviews.  Believed to be the first digital tour of a public artwork in Australia, this project preserves the significant cultural heritage value of this public artwork in this digital iteration of the mural.

 Highly commended: AFI Research Collection, Virtual and Digital Adaptation. 


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


Image: Introducing Yelli & Bo, My Home, Yarra Ranges Interactive eBook, courtesy of Yarra Ranges Regional Museum.

Winner: Yarra Ranges Regional Museum: My Home, Yarra Ranges Interactive eBook

The Yarra Ranges Regional Museum was recognised when it received the Archival Survival Award for Small Museums/Galleries for their My Home, Yarra Ranges interactive eBook. The book, My Home, Yarra Ranges connects children with animal stories in the museum’s collection. Yarra Ranges Regional Museum launched this interactive book as part of their 2020 Spring School Holidays program. Aimed at Primary School aged children (6–12 years) it featured objects, images and stories from the Museum’s collection intertwined with colouring pages, puzzles and games produced by local artist.

Highly commended: The Johnston Collection, Janet Laurence: The Palm at the End of the Mind


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


Image: Ask a Survivor holding screen, courtesy of Jewish Holocaust Centre 

Winner: Jewish Holocaust Centre: Ask A Survivor 

The AMaGA Victoria Award for Medium Museums/Galleries was won by the Jewish Holocaust Centre for their moving and significant Ask A Survivor website project.

Ask a Survivor was developed with the Jewish Holocaust Centre’s community of Holocaust Survivors. Over an 8-year period, 46 interviews with 32 different survivors were conducted. Meeting and interacting with a Holocaust survivor is one of the unforgettable highlights of visiting the Jewish Holocaust Centre.

Ask a Survivor was created to future-proof this experience. To ensure that the museum  could facilitate  ongoing meaningful interaction between students and Holocaust survivors. With COVID-19 restrictions, the Jewish Holocaust Centre had to fast track this project and continue to educate students through online workshops.

Highly commended: Museums Together, The Islamic Museum of Australia and The Jewish Museum of Australia. 


The AMaGA Victoria Award for Large Museums/Galleries (50+ Paid Staff)


Image: Di-Di Vaha'akolo, Programs Officer, First Peoples presenting a River of Language colouring in activity, Museum at Home, courtesy of Museums Victoria

Winner: Museums Victoria, Museum at Home

The AMaGA Victoria Award for Large Museums/Galleries was won by Museums Victoria for their innovative and engaging Museum at Home online experience.

Museum at Home is Museums Victoria’s online experience created in response to the closure of the physical museums during the COVID-19 crisis. It connected museum visitors virtually, met them in digital spaces with content and experiences to delight and engage, and provided ‘always open’ access to activities, collections and stories from Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks and Immigration Museum. Since its inception in March 2020, Museum at Home has reached more than 19.7 million people online via the creation of more than 200 videos and more than 120 activities for children and families including live and bookable experiences. 

Highly commended: NA



This year three organisations were recognised with Victorian Collections Awards and one individual was awarded the inaugural Martin Hallett Award for 'Individual Contributions to Community Heritage'. 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.


The Victorian Collections’ inaugural Martin Hallett Award for Individual Contributions to Community Heritage


Image: Lynda Tieman, courtesy of Port Fairy Museum and Archives Centre

Winner: Lynda Tieman, Collection Manager, Port Fairy Historical Society and Port Fairy Museum and Archives Centre

The Judges commented that, “We were impressed by Lynda’s enthusiasm and dedication, her generosity of spirit, and her longstanding commitment to the Victorian Collections community.” Lynda brought together devoted, on-the-ground work with significant community engagement and sharing of knowledge, and commended her ability to harness the potential of storytelling and digital formats as a mechanism to share collections.


The Victorian Collections Award for Excellence for organisations with volunteer staff

Winner: Brighton Historical Society

Brighton Historical Society works to collect, preserve and share items and information connected to the history and heritage of Brighton, Victoria. The Society’s extensive and diverse collection includes photos, documents, maps, art, artefacts and a large costume collection of State significance. Volunteers from Brighton Historical Society were commended on their thorough, well-provenanced records with exceptional collection photography. 

Search the collection at:

Highly Commended: Greensborough Historical Society 


The Victorian Collections Award for Excellence for organisations with paid staff

 Winner: Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and Village

Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and Village is both a museum and an 1870's village located on the state heritage listed Lady Bay Lighthouse precinct. The museum maintains Australia's richest shipwreck collection, with over 10,000 items including the famous Loch Ard Peacock, ships bells from numerous Shipwrecks, cannons and the Schomberg Diamond Ring. The judges commended the detailed significance assessments and historical information provided in the records.

You can search the collection at:

 Highly Commended: Latrobe Regional Gallery 


The Victorian Collections Award for Excellence for war heritage organisation

Winner: 8th/13th Victorian Mounted Rifles Regimental Collection

The 8th/13th Victorian Mounted Rifles Regimental Collection contains documents, photographs and objects relating to citizen soldiers from Northeast Victoria, dating from the late nineteenth century through to the present day. The Regimental Association volunteers who manage the collection were commended for the additional 395 collection entries made publicly available on Victorian Collections since July 2019.

You can search the collection at:

 Highly Commended: Melbourne Legacy 



Three certificates were presented to organisations that had completed the Museum Accreditation Program this year: the Daylesford and District Historical Society, Maldon Museum and Archives Association and the National Vietnam Veterans Museum. The Museum Accreditation Program is now in its 27th year and the program aims to guide ongoing development and bring about positive change by supporting organisations to preserve and manage collections and enrich community experiences.

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. 


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