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.


RETURN TO THE CITY | Christmas at The Johnston Collection 2016

Monday 3 October 2016 to Tuesday 31 January 2017

Our wonderful Christmas at The Johnston Collection tour will ‘Return to the City’ and feature the new works by Melbourne-based makers and artists for the first time in over a decade.

Each year a different region in Victoria has become the focus to create new works for this project, based on aspects or items in The Johnston Collection or relating to the life of William Robert Johnston (1911-1986).

This year, The Johnston Collection has commissioned Melbourne-based artists and collectives to create and contribute to our annual exhibition-house tour.

‘RETURN TO THE CITY’ will include artists collectives Hotham Street Ladies, The GLAD Rappers and The Melbourne Tapestry Weavers Collective and individual artists Anne Bolitho, Lewis Brownlie, ChiliPhilly, Amanda Dziedzic, Sai-Wai Foo, Irianna Kanellopoulou, Abbey Rich, Robyn Rich, Sharron Okines, Louise Saxton and Ellen Sorensen The makers have been working on their creations for over a year with many individual pieces taking hundreds of hours to complete.

The Johnston Collection has encouraged 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. This exhibition offers an ‘inspired’ interpretation of the Collection.

‘RETURN TO THE CITY’ brings together the work of Melbourne’s best contemporary makers in one magnificent show. 

We encourage you to book early for this popular exhibition-house tour. ‘RETURN TO THE CITY’ | Christmas at The Johnston Collection (2016-2017) is not to be missed.

PLEASE NOTE: the opening of our Christmas show has been brought forward a month to Monday 3 October with the exhibition closing a month earlier, on 31January 2017.

image: detail of woven portrait of William Johnston by Pat Scholz of the Melbourne Tapestry Weavers Collective

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. 


Ôter au Musée
Minimalist French cuisine in a maximalist museum

Monday 3 April | 6:00 pm to 7.15 pm SOLD OUT
Monday 3 April | 7:30 pm to 8.45 pm SELLING FAST
Monday 3 April | 9:00 pm to 10.15 pm TICKETS AVAILABLE

The contemporary and pared-back cuisine of Flo Gerardin and the team of Ôter celebrates a departure from traditional French fare and contrasts with the highly embellished room settings of Fairhall exhibition-house. 

Guests will enjoy five small courses with matched wines as they are guided through the exquisite Georgian and Regency interiors of Fairhall for this hour-long experience.

Bookings can be made through the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival webpage

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  (4 October 2016– 31 January 2017)

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.