The Collections

The Burke Museum has been described as a ‘museum of museums’.

Established in 1863 during a period of enthusiastic collecting, many members of the original museum committee were keen collectors. As a result the Burke museum reflects Victorian-style collecting, with natural history (including geology, taxidermy and conchology) as well as significant collections of Indigenous objects from South-eastern Australia and Fiji, and many original cabinets and furnishings.

The museum holds its original records, allowing us to track the history of many of the objects still in its collections.


The later nineteenth century saw additions to the building with a new wing and expansion of the collection. In 1979, the Street of Shops was opened, realising the vision of Curator, Roy Harvey. At this time a new north wing was also added. The addition of the Street of Shops began a new period of collecting, when Roy Harvey called to the community for donations. The response resulted in an influx of material adding to the town history and development, and local identities collections. The Shops and their contents reflect another period in museology.


The museum has continued to collect and now houses a large photographic collection, costume, documents and objects, as well as being the north-east repository for the Public Records Office, Victoria. , goldmining, the Chinese community on the goldfields, Wars of the twentieth century, the wheelbarrow push from Beechworth to Mt. Buffalo and life in the north-east. An annex to the Burke Musuem is the Ned kelly Vault, the Sub-Treasury building, which houses important Ned Kelly objects such as the Death Mask and from private collections Ned kelly's gun.

Collection management at the Burke Museum encompasses registration of acquisitions and loans, cataloguing and maintenance of objects, photographs and documents, working towards industry-standard storage and handling practices and monitoring the collection environment. It also involves implementing preservation and conservation strategies and curating exhibitions


Recent projects include professional cleaning of our wonderful collection of stuffed birds and animals, sorting and cataloguing our large photographic collection with a view to making images available for sale on-line, working with the Dja Dja Wurrung community towards a touring exhibition of our Indigenous collection, and preservation of our silk Chinese banners, carried in the Beechworth fundraising procession of 1873 by members of the Chinese community.



B U R K E   M U S E U M
Loch Street Beechworth 3747
Phone 03 5728 8067 | email
Open 10am-5pm (last entry 4.30pm) daily except Christmas Day