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Collections & Exhibitions

A 19th century man and woman stand behind a large piece of farm equipment
23 March 2021

Scrappy prototypes & enterprising inventors

In today's startup culture, good ideas can come from anywhere and even rough and ready prototypes can succeed – which, as our patents collection shows, is nothing new.

From the vault plastic
18 February 2021

RedPlanet Press and the politics of poster making

This episode of From the Vault explores Victoria's radical and bold poster collectives of the past.

Men and women in straw hats, trousers and long skirts play tennis in bush surrounds
04 February 2021

Tennis in Victoria

Pull up your ankle socks and take a trip with us, as we unearth fascinating images of tennis in Victoria through the years.

A woman and young girl peer through a window at a paper sculpture
27 January 2021

Under the love umbrella

Join us for a soothing tour under the roof of the dome – our very own 'love umbrella'.

Historical drawing of a manticore
15 December 2020

Fantastic beasts: unicorns, manticores and mermaids

Join Senior Librarian Dr Anna Welch as she explores the curious mythical animals once featured in our natural history books.

From the Vault department stores
11 December 2020

Melbourne's lost department stores

In this episode of From the Vault we take you back in time to the golden era of Melbourne retail and department stores.

A manuscript lays unfurled from its scroll
08 December 2020

From tablet to codex & beyond: the history of the book

Join Senior librarian Dr Anna Welch to discover how changes in the physical form of the book have revolutionised the way we take in information and ideas.

Sepia photo of a tin shed next to Melbourne's post office
04 December 2020

The mysterious tin shed in Melbourne's CBD

This episode of From the Vault explores the story of a humble corrugated iron building which sat in the middle of the city for decades.

The spines of hardcover books of various heights and sizes sit on a shelf
01 December 2020

Restricted books

Principal librarian Des Cowley lifts the curtain on books that were once kept hidden, because of their apparently dangerous and controversial ideas.