Victoria Police Museum


Project Completed: 2024

Floor Area: 325 sqm

Thylacine’s role

  • Project management
  • Interpretive design
  • Graphic design
  • Media design
  • Lighting design
  • Coordination with base build and services

The new Victoria Police Museum is a world-class venue and home to a significant state collection of more than 300 objects. It attracts visitors and serving Police officers alike and the museum’s inviting street access close to a busy tourist hub in Naarm (Melbourne) has opened up the collection to new and more diverse audiences.

Thylacine was commissioned to design the exhibition, transforming the collection into an immersive experience for visitors of all ages that explores the history of Victorian policing, forensics, and notorious criminals through fresh storytelling and interactive exhibits.

The nationally significant collection is rich in varied stories, including Australia’s largest collection of Kelly Gang armour and the car used in the 1986 Russell Street bombing. The exhibition design balances showcasing these fascinating objects with a fresh narrative that engages in greater truth-telling and acknowledges the sometimes fraught history between the police and parts of the Victorian community.

A key challenge for our team was creating a museum fit-out for a building that was never intended as a cultural space, with open spaces over four levels, a ceiling height of over 12-metres and glazed exterior walls.

We leaned into these challenges, creating vertical displays hanging in space and stretching up the walls, encouraging visitors to look up and around with an active sense of exploration.

Overhead scrims orientate the visitor and provide atmospheric markers for the content below. A dramatic display of police motorbikes race down a wall and a bomb-detecting robot crawls across a slanting surface.

As the museum is part of a bigger Police precinct, staff and visitor security had to be a consideration. Working with the architects, we embedded passive security measures into the design that met practical requirements without making the exhibition feel like a daunting high-security space.

In close consultation with the curators, we created intuitive, flowing pathways that allow visitors to follow their nose whilst eliminating bottlenecks and leaving space for gatherings and events.

A pared-back aesthetic allows the objects to come to the fore, with more vibrant colour used to designate different narrative zones.

Visitors can explore mechanical and digital interactives to try their hand at police and forensics techniques or make their way to the “Remembrance” area at the heart of the Museum for reflection and commemoration.

The Museum is now much more than a collection – it’s a cultural hub where the public and serving officers can engage directly with Victoria’s policing history, fostering dialogue on law enforcement’s role and challenges. It provides a space for education and reflection, honouring victims of crime and celebrating police contributions.

Our design of the Victoria Police Museum demonstrates the critical intersection between museum curation and interior design, creating a space that not only preserves history but encourages dialogue and understanding within the community.

“Victoria Police is intrinsically linked to Victoria’s history and I’m so pleased our museum is now open to share those stories. It’s an opportunity to take a moment to learn about the dedicated police who work with our community. It also provides the community with an insight into our most significant moments with rare photographs, significant objects and stories.”

Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police Shane Patton

Project Partners – Benjamin Cisterne Lighting, Mental Media, Holotype, Show Works

Photography by Peter Bennetts