Permanent Exhibitions: Immigration Museum

Permanent Exhibitions: Immigration MuseumPermanent Exhibitions: Immigration Museum

Victorians come from more than 200 countries, speak 260 languages and dialects and follow 135 religious faiths.

Two floors of exhibition galleries that house temporary and permanent exhibitions.

Several times a year in the Festival Courtyard we host joyous community festivals that are alive with food, music and culture.

The Immigration Discovery Centre is the perfect place to start your genealogical research, while the Tribute Garden is a beautiful sanctuary that honours immigrants from over 90 countries.

Permanent Exhibitions

Immigrant Stories and Timeline

Immigration is about us all - those who were here and those who came.

Everyone has a story to tell - about ourselves our families friends and ancestors. It is in the telling of these stories that we can begin to understand Victoria's rich histories.

This gallery explores why people have migrated to Victoria where they settled and how they started a new life here. The stories change annually and represent a diverse array of time periods motivations and cultural backgrounds. Some feature Museum Victoria collections others have been developed through partnerships with families and communities.

Stories now showing
Melbourne May Vale a transnational perspective 1862-1942
Melbourne Gung family Chinese migrants three generations since 1890
Melbourne Edda Azzola Italian migrant and textile outworker 1955
Melbourne Youssef Romanos and Tansa Eid Lebanese migrants and Melbourne taxi drivers 1960s
Melbourne Nickel Mundabi Ngadwa refugee from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and artist 2009

Around the walls of the gallery is an immigration timeline that highlights key events in the history of immigration to Victoria and its impact upon Australia's Aboriginal communities.

Leaving Home

People have migrated to Australia for many reasons. Some flee from the ravages of war, hunger, religious persecution or political repressions. Others have been lured by a sense of adventure, by the prospect of a new beginning, of owning land, of making a fortune, or to be reunited with love ones.

Many arrive with keepsakes, precious reminders of loved ones or special places. The experiences of arriving in a new country vary from person to person.

Using sound, objects, still and moving images we explore the reasons why people left their countries to come to Australia and what they brought with them.

Identity: yours, mine, ours

What does it mean to belong and not belong in Australia?

The exhibition explores how our cultural heritage, languages, beliefs, and family connections influence our self-perceptions and our perceptions of other people - perceptions that can lead to discovery, confusion, prejudice and understanding.

Engaging personal stories, intriguing objects, compelling images and interactive multimedia experiences invite visitors to find connections with others, as well as challenge the assumptions we make about each other every day.

Visitors are encouraged to share their stories, affirm their identities and celebrate diversity in our community.

Getting In

More than 9 million people have migrated to Australia since 1788. Countless others have tried and failed.

Since the 1800s, various immigration policies have dictated who gets in. This exhibition shows how and why our immigration policies have changed. We focus on four periods: the gold rush days of the 1840s to 1900, Federation to the end of the Second World War, then post-war to the early seventies, and finally 1973 to the present day. You'll see photographs, historical objects, and personal stories that show the effects of these policies on cultural diversity in Victoria.

Central to the exhibition is an interactive theatre experience whereby visitors find themselves in the role of a government official charged with the responsibility of interviewing people applying to migrate to Australia, and discovering whether or not they 'get in'.

Discovery Centre

A place to relax, talk to helpful staff, and research family and migration history.

The Immigration Discovery Centre, set in the beautifully restored 19th century vaults of Customs House, is the perfect place for learning about family history, exploring Australia's migration history, sharing personal stories, researching contemporary issues, and understanding our culturally diverse community.

Snuggle in our comfy lounges with a book from our unique reference library, explore our collections online and vast web resources, or enjoy the screen lounge showcasing stories of cultural celebrations.

Staff in the centre can help answer questions to assist you in your family history and general research projects, we cater to all ages and levels of interest. And if you're not able to visit us in person, you can ask us a question online.

Customs Gallery

The story of Customs House, where officials controlled what-and who-could enter Victoria.

The Immigration Museum occupies the Old Customs House, one of Melbourne's most important 19th-century public buildings. For over a century the Customs House was the focal point for Victoria's trade and shipping.

Customs officers collected import duties, inspected ships for smuggled goods, controlled immigration to Victoria, and prevented the importation of items such as illegal drugs, endangered and contaminated animal products, and banned books and films.

Tribute Garden

Located in the northern garden of the Immigration Museum, the Tribute Garden is a public artwork that pays tribute to 7,000 people who have made the journey to Victoria.

The Tribute Garden features the names of immigrants who came from over 90 countries, from the 1800s to the present day.

The region now known as Victoria is represented by the people of the Kulin Nation as traditional owners of the land, and records the names of languages and dialects spoken by Aboriginal communities.

Melbourne-based artist Evangelos Sakaris designed the original artwork, which was launched in 1998. Gina Batsakis led the design for the following stages of the project. The project concluded in 2002.

Entry to the Tribute Garden is free.

Highlights Tour

Daily, 2:30 PM
Included with museum entry

Join our staff on a highlights tour around the museum.

Tours are subject to change and cancellation. Please confirm tours by calling 13 11 02.

Group bookings essential: (03) 9927 2754

Daily 10am-5pm
Closed Good Friday
and Christmas Day

Immigration Museum
400 Flinders Street
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000

Admission prices
Tickets Prices
Adult $15
Concession* Free
Child Free
Museum Member Adult Free
Museum Member Concession* Free
Museum Member Child Free

❊ When & Where ❊

Happens: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Times: 10pm - 5pm

❊ Venue ❊

 Immigration Museum  Events 2 Events
⊜ 400 Flinders St Melbourne | Map
Immigration Museum400 Flinders St, Melbourne, , 3000
✆ Event: 9927 2741 | Venue: +61 (3) 9927 2700

❊ Be Social ❊

❊ COVID-19 Notice ❊

As the state takes action to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), this event may be affected. Please confirm details before making plans | Disclaimer

❊ Web Links ❊

Permanent Exhibitions: Immigration Museum

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