The Johnston Collection
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The Johnston Collection
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Exhibition-house Tours

The Johnston Collection is administered as an independent not-for-profit museum by The W R Johnston Trust.

PLEASE NOTE:    A $3.50 booking fee applies for online bookings. This covers banking costs and fees charged to us by our ticketing provider for online sales.  An $8.00 booking and administration fee applies for telephone bookings.  Thank you for your understanding.


Click on the blue arrow to the right of the screen to scroll through the calendar. 

Exhibition-house Tours descriptions appear below the calendar.


BEING MODERN |WILLIAM JOHNSTON: His Residence & Collection

The Annual William Johnston Exhibition-House Tour

Monday 13 February 2017 – Tuesday 30 May 2017

BEING MODERN | WILLIAM JOHNSTON : His Residence & Collection will re-present the original arrangement of William Johnston’s collection in Fairhall, as it was when it first opened to the public as an exhibition-house in 1990. Using photographs, floor plans and layouts of the innovative arrangement from our archives, Fairhall will be recreated as a ‘modern’ iteration of an English Georgian-inspired domestic interior, just as it was first presented to the public over two decades ago.  This tour will continue exploring one of the themes underpinning The Johnston Collection, that ‘Old is New’.

BEING MODERN will also consider ideas around modernity and how “Every age thinks it's the modern age”. ‘Modernity’ is a phase of history said to have begun around the 17th century in Europe. It encompassed the Age of Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and Colonialism / Imperialism – social and political movements represented in many of the objects on display in The Johnston Collection. 

ANIMAL KINGDOM | House of Ideas 2017

With Kate Rohde, Troy Emery, Julia deVille, Vipoo Srivilasa, Alison Cole, Lesley Uren, and Yvonne Walton

Tuesday 13 June 2017 - Tuesday 19 September 2017

We're all part of the animal kingdom, appearing in what Darwin called "endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful". As part of our continuing 'house of ideas' series and through contemporary artists and historical objects, this audacious exhibition brings together and seeks out representations of animals which have continued to inspire and inform us over time.

In ANIMAL KINGDOM, exquisite animal-inspired objects from The Johnston Collection will be juxtaposed alongside fantastic creations by some of Melbourne's best contemporary makers including Kate Rohde, Troy Emery, Julia deVille, Vipoo Srivilasa, Alison Cole, Lesley Uren, and Yvonne Walton, in one magnificent show.

As part of our 'house of ideas' series, ANIMAL KINGDOM continues to explore William Johnston's collection in new ways.

Visitors to ANIMAL KINGDOM will discover a world of animals within The Johnston Collection.

image: detail from James Scouler (English, 1740-1812), portrait miniature of Master Jolly, London, dated 1783, The Johnston Collection (A0777-1989, Foundation Collection)

FEAST | Christmas At The Johnston Collection 2017

Monday 2 October 2017 - Wednesday 31 January 2018

Sensory feasts to feats of thought and contemplation to feast your eyes on will be parcelled up in our third survey exhibition, FEAST. This year we've hand-picked some of our great contributors who have exhibited work from over five years of Christmas exhibitions, along with a smattering of new ones, for our annual tour.

With works inspired by William Johnston and his collection, this exhibition will feature works by artists and guilds from Mornington Peninsula (2013-2014), Geelong and the Surf Coast (2014-2015), Gippsland and environs (2015-2016) and Melbourne city (2016-2017).

The Johnston Collection encourages challenges to traditional making, thinking, and practice, through contemporary responses to the Collection, along with more traditional responses that reflect historical techniques, materials, and making.

FEAST brings together superb creations by some of Melbourne and Victoria's best contemporary makers in one magnificent show. Old will be new again.

Visitor Information

Weekday Tour Times:

10:00 | 12:00 | 2.00

After Hours Tours:

Second Saturday at 10:00 and 12:00
Third Thursday at 18:00

Christmas at The Johnston Collection Tour Cost  (2 October 2017– 31 January 2018)

Adult $27.00 | Concession $25.00 | Group Rate $23.00 per person group of 8 or more (max 22) After Hours $35.00

Weekday Tour Cost (February 2017 - September 2017):

Adult $25.00 | Concession $23.00 | Group Rate $21.00 per person group of 8 or more (max 22) |After Hours $32.00

Individual and group bookings available. Please note when booking a group online, enter the number of people in the Adult field and the Group Rate will be automatically calculated.

Confirmed bookings are essential.


A $3.50 booking fees applies for online bookings.  This covers banking costs and fees charged to us by our ticketing provider for online sales.  An $8.00 booking and administration fee applies for telephone bookings.   Thank you for your understanding.

Online and telephone booking fees do not apply to current members of The Friends of The Johnston Collection.

Telephone bookings 03 9416 2515


Organisation and Club Bookings Policy

Telephone us on 03 9416 2515 for more information or download a copy of our policy here:

Organisation_and_Club_Bookings.pdf Organisation_and_Club_Bookings.pdf (60kB)

Visiting The Johnston Collection

The Johnston Collection is the legacy of William Johnston, an antique dealer and collector. He left his estate to the people of Victoria for their education and enjoyment. The collection ranges from the 17th to the 19th century and has great strengths in Georgian, Regency and Louis XV furniture, Empire and decorative arts.

To protect the privacy and parking rights of Mr Johnston's residential neighbours, we are not permitted by our planning permit to publish the address of the museum.

On the day of the appointed visit, visitors will be collected from the foyer of the Pullman Melbourne on the Park hotel (formerly the Hilton on the Park Hotel) at 192 Wellington Parade, near the Fitzroy Gardens. Visitors are brought to the Johnston Collection in a courtesy bus operated by our staff. This arrangement is due to planning permit stipulations and adds a little intrigue to your visit that we know you will enjoy.

All tickets are prepaid and tea/coffee and shortbread are served to guests on arrival. From the time of collection to the time of return to the Pullman Melbourne on the Park hotel your tour will take approximately one and a half hours.

We allow a maximum of 22 people on guided tours.

Disabled Access

Wheelchair access to Fairhall is limited. There are 3 steps to the entrance and 19 steps which must be ascended in order to reach the first floor. Disabled car parking is not available. Please make us aware of the special needs of any member of your group in advance of your arrival so that we can offer every assistance.

Please ring 03 9416 2515 for more information.