From the Forest to the Deep Sea and everything in between: Museum Victoria

A Museum Victoria membership with unlimited entry to three museums will keep the kids happy and curious these Christmas holidays.
From the Forest to the Deep Sea and everything in between: Museum Victoria

Museum Victoria is Australia’s largest public museum organisation, encompassing three museums, Melbourne Museum, Immigration Museum and Scienceworks. Paul Bowers is Head of Exhibitions at Museum Victoria, and Bowers and his seven and 10-year old children are also regular visitors to the long-term and temporary exhibitions at all three museums.

A Museum Victoria membership allows them to take advantage of all that the museums have to offer all year round, and learn about natural history as well as Victorian and Indigenous stories. It provides free general entry to all three museums, access to special exhibitions, previews and exclusive events (including behind-the-scenes opportunities), as well as discounts on parking, dining and shopping.

‘One thing my kids enjoy about the Museums,’ said Bowers, ‘is that they have both inside and outside spaces. You can get some time in the sunshine, or you can hide from the heat inside. At Melbourne Museum they head for the Forest Gallery, and when it gets too warm, they’ll come inside and hang out with the dinosaurs,’ he said.

It’s the variety of exhibitions that keep the kids coming back: ‘Down at Scienceworks, there’s lots of really engaging, high-energy interactive exhibits. Then you can go down into the Pumping Station, a magical and contemplative space.’

It’s not just old favourites but encounters with the unexpected that make Museum Victoria a great school holiday option, as Bowers explained. ‘Last time we came to Melbourne Museum to look at the dinosaurs, the kids veered into the Dynamic Earth exhibition, and started looking at the rocks and volcanoes. That was quite unexpected. There’s always so much to discover.’

As well as exhibitions, the Immigration Museum often plays host to one-off events and festivals. ‘Whether it’s dress-ups or craft you can take home, there’s always something slightly different down there,’ Bowers enthused.

Unlimited free entry to multiple museums makes a Museum Victoria membership really worthwhile – and helps avoid family holiday dramas! ‘The two kids have had a debate about which museum they want to go to, and it’s really nice to be able to say, we’ll go to one this weekend, and the other next weekend, rather than disappoint one child.’

This summer the Deep Oceans exhibition at Scienceworks is keeping Bowers’ son occupied. ‘Leo spent about 20 minutes trying to drive a submarine through an obstacle course, which he was completely engaged with.’  Other aspects of the summer program are still under wraps but Bowers revealed that the perennial kid’s favourite – dinosaurs – will play a starring role.

If you’d like to include a more restful activity in your day at one of the museums, note that your Membership includes discounted entry to IMAX Melbourne. The cinema with a difference situated right next to Melbourne Museum, means an easy trip to take in the exhibits and a film, perhaps with lunch in between. What better way to occupy your family these Christmas holidays?

A Museum Victoria Membership makes a fantastic Christmas gift. For more information and to purchase,

Chloe Wolifson

Tuesday 9 December, 2014

About the author

Chloe Wolifson is a Sydney-based independent art writer and curator who works across artist-run, commercial and public domains.