Taking Australia's largest medical
collections online

Established in 1853, the University of Melbourne is considered to be Australia’s leading university. With considerable notability, the University is known for having an extensive medical research expenditure and houses some of Australia’s largest medical and dental collections of real human tissue specimens and historical anatomical artefacts.

How might we curate education programs that adopt new learning experiences and technology to increase student engagement and capacity?

From then till now – Left: 1850s lecture theatre at the University of Melbourne. Above: Stakeholders explore the posibilities of technology in a virtual exhibition space.


To showcase the university’s collections, three museums exist within the university – each with their own rotating exhibitions. Combined, the physical museums could only display less than 10% of the full collection at any point in time due to space and preservation concerns. The university faced a challenge to make the full collection available for viewing in three separate museums.

Extensive digital planning and strategy was undertaken to encompass the complex content structure, which included private collections secured to the University’s mainframe student network and offshore collection repositories.


Plural worked closely with the museum departments to take the experience digital. The main objective of the project was to provide valuable educational resources for students in the medical and related anatomical disciplines, while also acting as a dynamic online exhibition space for the general public.

Plural developed a digital museum hub to organise and showcase the organisation’s comprehensive medical and dental history collections online across three distinct websites. To showcase these collections, three museums exist within the university – each with their own rotating exhibitions.

“Plural were able to take our ideas, concept and creative vision to fruition with great insight and understanding of the project’s constraints. I highly recommend their commitment to meet the client’s needs while offering knowledgeable and valuable advice. The team are a pleasure to work with, their can-do, friendly attitude was appreciated and we were extremely happy with the outcome of our project.”

— Ryan Jefferies, Curator, Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology

Case Study / La Trobe University

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