ASCS - The Australasian Society for Classical Studies  

Museums and Collections of Antiquities in Australia and New Zealand

The Museum of Classical Archaeology at the University of Adelaide


The Classics Museum at the Australian National University

The Classics Museum provides a study resource for the general public, school and college students, as well as students from Classics, Art History, Archaeology and Anthropology, the Canberra School of Art and the University of Canberra's National Centre for Cultural Heritage Science Studies.

The collection, established in 1962, now comprises some 600 objects from Cyprus, Asia Minor, Greece, and the Roman world. Some of the items are on loan to the Museum from the National Gallery of Australia, from the Parliament House Collection, and from private collectors. The larger part of the collection, however, has been built up over the years as a teaching resource. The items in the collection are used in various ways in the courses taught by the Classics Program, and by other programs, such as Art History.

Above: Part of a scene from the “Johnson Vase”, Attic black-figure amphora, c. 530-520 BC


The Antiquities Collection at the University of Auckland

This is a small, representative collection of antiquities relevant to courses in the Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Auckland, including items from Egypt, the Aegean, Greece, Italy and North Africa.


The Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, Caboolture, Queensland

The Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology contains collections of prehistoric bone and stone artefacts, metalwork, ceramics, glass, sculpture, leather, wood carvings, gemstones, lacquer, paper, prints and paintings spanning the last 500,000 years of human history.


The James Logie Memorial Collection at the University of Canterbury

The James Logie Memorial Collection is one of the finest collections of Greek and Roman antiquities on public display in the southern hemisphere and is housed in the Logie Room in the Department of Classics at the University of Canterbury. Vases and other pottery items from the Archaic period onwards form the bulk of the collection, although some highly prized Attic black-figure amphorae and marble items of the Roman period are included.

Right: Medea rejuvenating the ram, Attic red-figure calyx krater by the Kleophon painter, c. 440 BC


The A.D. Trendall Research Centre for Ancient Mediterranean Studies at La Trobe University

Professor A.D. Trendall bequeathed his large personal library of books, journals and offprints, as well as his extraordinary archive of photographs of South Italian red-figure vases, to La Trobe University in order to provide the basis for a research centre in the broad area of ancient Mediterranean studies.

In November, 1998, a Research Centre was established which is at present located, according to Trendall’s expressed wish, in his former apartment above the South Wing of Menzies College.


The Museum of Ancient Cultures at Macquarie University

This Ancient History/Archaeology Museum is designed to support the teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate programs on offer at Macquarie University within the Department of Ancient History. It also promotes Ancient History and Archaeology to the secondary schools of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory as well as to the campus and broader general community. It houses a collection of over 7000 artefacts, as well as an extensive papyrus collection, and exhibits some of the coin collection of the Australian Centre for Ancient Numismatic Studies.

Right: Roman bronze figure of a lar, c. 1st cent. AD


The Classics and Archaeology Collection in the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne

The Classics and Archaeology Collection forms part of the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne.


Moorilla Museum of Old and New Art, Berriedale, Tasmania

This Museum, located in the middle of the Moorilla Estate Winery, houses a rare private collection of ancient artefacts and is free to the public.


The Museum of Antiquities at the University of New England

The Museum of Antiquities at the University of New England is the only archaeological museum anywhere in inland Australia, and is a special resource for the whole New England area. The Museum began in 1959 as part of the Department of Classics and has been developed consistently since as a result of purchases and donations, particularly of the Woite and Stewart Collections. The Museum boasts an excellent selection of antiquities from the civilisations of the ancient Mediterranean and the Near East which has been more recently complemented by materials from Australia, S.E. Asia, New Guinea and the Pacific region provided through Museum purchases and private donations. It boasts a collection now of well over 1000 items.


The Museum of Mediterranean Antiquities at Monash University

A small museum is maintained in the Centre for Archaeology in which antiquities from around the Mediterranean are displayed. The majority of the collection is on loan to the University. The cultures represented in the collection include Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Cypriot, Etruscan, Greek and Roman.


The R.D. Milns Antiquities Museum at the University of Queensland

In 1963, the purchase at a London auction-house of a red-figure Attic amphora marked the establishment of a collection of antiquities designed to enrich the teaching programs of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Queensland. Over a period of thirty years the collection has grown steadily in size and in reputation under the guidance of Classics and Ancient History staff members, and today the Antiquities Museum has on display a broad range of ancient artefacts stemming from Western Asia, Egypt, Greece and Rome.

This archaeological material reflects the achievements of the great ancient civilisations which developed in the lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The collection provides the only comprehensive survey of ancient Mediterranean antiquities on public view in Queensland. The objects span almost 3500 years of history, and are in a variety of materials – stone, pottery, terracotta, metalware and glass. Together they give a picture of the technological and artistic advances made over that time by the forerunners of Western civilisation.

Right: Roman glassware jug


The Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney

The Nicholson Museum, the largest collection of ancient artefacts in Australia, will celebrate its 150th year in 2010. Sir Charles Nicholson, one of the founders of the University of Sydney, was dedicated to bringing the cultural traditions of England to Australia. In 1856 he travelled to Egypt and Europe where he purchased many artefacts. In 1860 these objects were moved from Nicholson’s house to three rooms in the Quadrangle. With this donation the Nicholson Museum was founded. The collection of the Nicholson Museum has been expanded over the years through bequests, acquisitions and excavations, resulting in collections of artefacts from Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Egypt, and the Near and Middle East.

Today the Nicholson has become a favourite with children, excited at seeing a real mummy; with school students who gain direct contact with material of the ancient societies that fill their text books; with adults who are left in wonder at the richness of the ancient objects.


The John Elliott Classics Museum at the University of Tasmania

The John Elliott Classics Museum contains representative examples of the art and culture of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, Greece, Etruria and Rome. It contains approximately 800 pieces with new additions purchased or donated on a regular basis.

In 1954 the then Professor of Classics, J.R. Elliott, initiated the acquisition of ancient Greek vases with a view to creating a collection which would both serve as a teaching adjunct to the courses in the Department of History and Classics and provide an exhibition of original antiquities accessible to all Tasmanians.

Left: Roman marble torso


The Classics Museum at the Victoria University of Wellington

The Classics Museum houses a small collection of Greek and Roman artefacts, not all of which are on display. Some have been purchased by the Classics programme, while others are on loan from the British Museum, National Museum of Athens or private owners.

Right: Terracotta mask


The Hamilton Gallery, Hamilton, Victoria

The Hamilton Gallery includes a small collection of Mediterranean antiquities as part of its collection of international decorative arts.

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