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Where is Melbourne's Best Music Museum?

Home > Melbourne > Exhibitions | Fun Things To Do | Jazz | Music Venues | Unusual Things to do | Questions
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by Gayle Beveridge (subscribe)
Gayle Beveridge is a past winner of the Boroondara Literary Awards and her work has appeared in Award Winning Australian Writing. Gayle is passionate about family, writing, photography, and with Victoria’s beautiful Bass Coast which she now calls home.
Published August 29th 2021
Who doesn't love music? it's part of the human condition! It's why babies are captivated by song and why toddlers can't resist moving to the beat of The Wiggles. We Melburnians are no exception - just look at our music history! One of Australia's greatest opera singers, Dame Nellie Melba, took her name from her hometown of Melbourne. Molly Meldrum lives here and Countdown, the program he compered, the most popular music program in Australian television history, was produced in Melbourne. The Seekers,, the first Australian pop group to achieve major chart success in the UK and USA, and the only band to have been awarded 'Australians of the Year,' were formed in Melbourne in 1962.

Music museums Melbourne,Australian Music Vault,Jazz museum,MESS,Electronic sound,Percy grainger,Music Australia,Music museums,Music history,Famous music,
The Seekers - Image by Capitol Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Melbourne can lay claim to a long list of successful and well-known musicians. Johnny Farnham, Kylie Minogue, Tina Arena, Missy Higgins, and Normie Rowe were all Melburnians. Then there are the bands that were formed here - Crowded House, Little River Band, Pseudo Echo, and Daddy Cool to name just a few.

In the Music Victoria 2017 Melbourne Live Music Census, it was reported "Melbourne has the most live music venues and more live venues per capita of any global city." How many I hear you ask - they found there were 553 venues in Melbourne hosting live music!

Music museums Melbourne,Australian Music Vault,Jazz museum,MESS,Electronic sound,Percy grainger,Music Australia,Music museums,Music history,Famous music,
Nellie Melba 1892 - Image by Numa Blanc Fils (photographic studio), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Given this amazing pedigree, you would imagine there would be many music museums in Melbourne, but are there? Here's what I've found.

The Australian Music Vault and Aria Hall of Fame, located in the Arts Centre is a permanent and free exhibition of Australian contemporary music. Exhibition content changes regularly and is drawn from both Arts Centre Melbourne's Australian Performing Arts Collection and from the artists themselves. They have taken full advantage of technology to enhance the exhibition with interactive experiences.

In 'The Amplifier', visitors are surrounded by sounds from some of Australia's iconic music events, like the 1972 Sunbury Music Festival, Countdown or the 2010 Slam Rally protest for live music. You can also make your own mixtape of your visit.

Music museums Melbourne,Australian Music Vault,Jazz museum,MESS,Electronic sound,Percy grainger,Music Australia,Music museums,Music history,Famous music,
Australian Music Vault - Arts Centre Victoria - Image by Canley, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Well known music personality, Molly Meldrum, campaigned for the Australian Music Vault which he refers to as "a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."

If you can't make it to the museum, check out their website which has a wealth of information, including highlights of past exhibitions, stories about some of Australia's greatest music moments, and digital resource kits for schools.

Location: Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne.

Website: https://www.australianmusicvault.com.au/exhibition
Email: feedback@australianmusicvault.com.au
Telephone: 1300 182 183
Visitor Info: Entry is free. Click here for visitor information.

Music museums Melbourne,Australian Music Vault,Jazz museum,MESS,Electronic sound,Percy grainger,Music Australia,Music museums,Music history,Famous music,
Molly Meldrum - Image by Eva Rinaldi, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Australian Jazz Museum is a tribute to Australia's contribution to the world of jazz, both at home and abroad. Their collection, which broadly encompasses anything to do with Australian jazz, includes recorded jazz music, materials and memorabilia from the 1920s (some of the recordings are on cylinders) to current times. Visitors are able to access the large database of jazz music. Exhibitions are changed across time. Volunteers are on hand to assist visitors and can be found working hard in the background, collecting and cataloguing.

Location: Koomba Park, 15 Mountain Highway, Wantirna
Website: https://www.ajm.org.au/
Email: info@ajm.org.au
Telephone: (03) 9800 5535
Visitor Info: Drop in visits are free. Click here for group bookings and other visitor details.

Music museums Melbourne,Australian Music Vault,Jazz museum,MESS,Electronic sound,Percy grainger,Music Australia,Music museums,Music history,Famous music,
Ian Cooper and James Morrison - Image by Cecelia Cooke, FAL, via Wikimedia Commons

MESS – the Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio maintains a collection of working electronic instruments including a collection of vintage synthesizers. Exhibitions are rotated to enable all of the extensive collectionhttps://mess.foundation/studio to be viewed. The key point of difference here is that everything still works and is available for use through membership.

Individual visitors and tour groups can be accommodated Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 1pm to 5pm or weekends by appointment.

Location: 15 Dowling Place, North Melbourne,
Website: https://mess.foundation/
Email: admin@mess.foundation
Telephone: (03) 9329 7177
Visitor Info: Click here for all you need to know about visiting.

Music museums Melbourne,Australian Music Vault,Jazz museum,MESS,Electronic sound,Percy grainger,Music Australia,Music museums,Music history,Famous music,
Moog modular synthesizer details (2016-08 by kpr2 @pixabay 1573329) - Image by kpr2, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Grainger Museum, at the University of Melbourne in Parkville, is dedicated to the life and times of composer, arranger and pianist, Percy Grainger and was planned by the man himself and established in 1938. The museum contains Percy Grainger's scores and compositions but its collection extends well beyond that. It comprises more than 100,000 items including musical recordings, musical instruments, diaries, photographs, artworks, costumes, figurines and more.

Music museums Melbourne,Australian Music Vault,Jazz museum,MESS,Electronic sound,Percy grainger,Music Australia,Music museums,Music history,Famous music,
'Kaps of Dresden' Percy Graingers Childhood Piano (Photo by Accession number 00.0057 Grainger Museum collection, University of Melbourne CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Location: Parkville Campus of the University of Melbourne, Gate 13, Royal Parade, Parkville, Melbourne
Website: grainger.unimelb.edu.au/
Email: grainger@unimelb.edu.au
Telephone: (03) 8344 5270
Visitor Info: Click here for visitor information.

These museums offer an impressive coverage of the music world, but have I missed any? Let me know of any you might have come across.
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Great article but you forgot to mention Mushroom Records came out of Melbourne. When Mushroom celebrate its 40th birthday they had an exhibition at the RMIT Gallery in Swanston Street.
by Belinda Nolan-Price (score: 2|467) 27 days ago

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