Arts Centre Melbourne launches public tours of its Australian Performing Arts Collection Store

Arts Centre Melbourne has announced the launch of public tours of its Australian Performing Arts Collection Store. This new experience will provide behind-the-scenes insights into what it takes to develop, manage, preserve, and share the more than 850,000 objects held by Arts Centre Melbourne. The first tours launch on Sunday 10 September 2023.

As part of the weekend tours, members of the public will be given the unique opportunity to see an extraordinary range of items from the Collection such as Kylie Minogue’s gold lamé hotpants and Museum dress, pointe shoes worn by Australia’s best ballet dancers, and a set model designed for the Australian stage musical Priscilla, Queen of The Desert.

Tour participants will hear fascinating stories about the objects and learn about the specialists, processes, and techniques to be discovered behind the scenes.

The tours will showcase the recent upgrade and expansion of the Collections Store, designed by Williams Ross Architects, and featuring the creation of new workspaces, including a conservation lab to preserve objects onsite and a dedicated photographic studio to continue digitisation of the collection.

The renovation was funded by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria and philanthropists Virginia and Harry Boon, The Estate of Maxwell and Merle Carroll and The Estate of Suzette Marie Chapple.

The Australian Performing Arts Collection (APAC), established in 1975, is the nation’s largest collection of performing arts cultural heritage. The collection acquires material across the five key collecting areas of circus, dance, music, opera, and theatre.

This vast repository features costumes and accessories, designs and set models, props, photographs and scrap books to posters, programs, archives and audio and visual material.

“Providing access to the Australian Performing Arts Collection has the potential to stimulate creativity, curiosity, dialogue, increased knowledge and a greater sense of connection and wellbeing for the people of Victoria and its visitors,” said Arts Centre Melbourne Head of Collections, Preservation and Access, Samantha Hamilton

“By opening our new storage, research and education facility, visitors will have the opportunity to participate in a unique Melbourne experience which complements our exhibitions and displays.”

“A tour of the Collections Store will offer further access to our wonderful State assets through a behind the scenes experience into what it takes to develop, manage, preserve, and share this inspiring and entertaining collection,” said Hamilton.

Tours of the Australian Performing Arts Collection Store commence on Sunday 10 September 2023. For more information and to make a booking, visit: for details.

Image: Australian Performing Arts Collection Store – photo by Eugene Hyland