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.



Friday 11 March 2016 to Tuesday 28 June 2016

International design studio HECKER GUTHRIE rearrange Fairhall exhibition-house as part of the William Johnston & his Collection series. Paul Hecker and Hamish Guthrie have based their rearrangement on a fictional ‘William Johnston’s Emporium’, an idea inspired by the real William Johnston’s (1911-1986) professional life beginning with his work as a window dresser at Melbourne department store Buckley & Nunn’s and later, as an antiques trader who loved to scour stores and markets around the world looking for his next acquisition. In this rearrangement of our most spectacular and intriguing collection, Hecker Guthrie will present the objects in arrangements typical of retail spaces.


Our Menu Tours offer further ways to visit and enjoy The Johnston Collection. Choose one of these specialised guided exhibition-house tours and discover even more intriguing insights that are sure to nourish the mind.

DATES and times don’t suit? Call us and we can organise another suitable time for a group of four of more.

Fairhall & Flowers

Monday 18 April 2016, 12 noon
Tuesday 24 May 2016, 12.00 noon
Wednesday 15 June 2016, 12.00 noon

Let the flowers bloom! Be beguiled by the beauty of botany and the language of flowers on this new exhibition-house tour. Fairhall is full of flowers and foliage, floral and plant motifs used as embellishment and patterns on objects to bring the outside in all year ‘round.

detail from Swansea potteries, vase, Wales, circa 1815-1820, (A0643-1989)

Staffordshire Stories

Monday 4 April 2016, 12.00 noon
Thursday 19 May 2016, 12.00 noon
Thursday 23 June 2016, 12.00 noon

Staffordshire Stories offers visitors the opportunity to focus on the Staffordshire figures that were of special interest to William Johnston and explore a wide variety of the popular and intriguing historical subjects they represent.

in the manner of the Parr factory, Staffordshire potteries district, figure (standing elephant with a mahout and leopard), England, circa 1850, The Johnston Collection (A0446-1989)
photograph by Mark Chew | Mark Chew Photography

Unlocking The Collection

Tuesday 26 April 2016, 12.00 noon
Monday 16 May 2016, 12.00 noon
Monday 6 June 2016, 12 noon

By ‘unlocking’ the doors, lids and covers of objects, this specially developed tour offers visitors the opportunity to see hidden aspects and interior details of items in Fairhall.

detail from Jean-David Fortainer (active 1730-1778) and Jean-Charles ELLAUME (active 1754-1780), bureau plat, France, 1745-1749, (A0029-1989)


HOUSE OF DREAMS | Barking Spider Visual Theatre

Tuesday 12 July 2016 to  Tuesday 20 September 2016

Our HOUSE OF DREAMS tour is an art-based multi-media installation by Barking Spider Visual Theatre.

New room themes will be created, inspired by Carl Jung's dream theories and the history of William Johnston and Fairhall, as an exhibition-house in itself.

As Johnston's collection and exhibition-house are explored, visitors to the HOUSE OF DREAMS will experience the uncanny, mysterious and the hauntingly beautiful.

Penelope Bartlau and her team of artists respond to the Collection by drawing on their skills and experiences in creating for public museums, for theatre and in-site specific installations.

RETURN TO THE CITY | Christmas at The Johnston Collection 2016

Monday 3 October 2016 to Tuesday 31 January 2017

RETURN TO THE CITY | Christmas at The Johnston Collection 2016 will feature new work commissioned by The Johnston Collection from Melbourne-based makers. This will be the first exhibition of city-based makers' work that we have shown in more than a decade.

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.

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 (March 2015 - October 2015):

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.