Ethics in the House Museum: the Challenges of Historical Collections

House museums often contain collection objects with dark pasts. Drawing on examples from The Johnston Collection, this lecture considers some of the ethical questions addressed by museum and gallery professionals today. What are appropriate narratives for historical collections in 2024?

Museum professionals steward collections, engage with the public, and maintain the integrity of their institutions. They often also grapple with the dark pasts of collection objects. How should house museums manage objects that have links to challenging histories, for example, objects made from endangered species, or those that depict enslaved people?

This interactive lecture for no more than 33 guests considers some of the many ethical issues considered by museum leaders and includes case studies of fine and decorative arts objects at The Johnston Collection, a house museum in East Melbourne.

Presenter: Dr Louise Voll Box is CEO of The Johnston Collection. She has a background spanning business and the arts and has taught art curatorship and art history at the University of Melbourne.

Your ticket includes tea or Market Lane coffee served before the lecture, and time to browse an exclusive range of books, gifts, and homewares at TJC Emporium.

Event date

Event Details

192 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne, Victoria

As a heritage organisation located in a residential area, all visitors to The Johnston Collection are required to arrive via our courtesy bus. We kindly ask all visitors to arrive at the Pullman Melbourne on the Park, 192 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne 15 minutes before the event and take public transport where possible.



Entry fees:
Adults $ 20, Concession $ 18, Members $ 18
Prebooking required 3 9416 2515
Attendance limit:
Less than 50
Onsite facilities:
Other things
you need to know:
Please note: Tickets for this event do not include access to The Johnston Collection’s exhibition-house, Fairhall. Guided tours can be booked separately at