Michaels Camera Museum – Melbourne CBD – It’s free!


I take a lot of pictures either on my iPhone which is ‘at the ready’ all the time or with my camera.  It is so easy.

One of the most popular presents for Christmas 2014 is reported to be a selfie-stick.  That makes us sound a bit vain but it also says we want to record our lives with  pictures.  How simple that is today?
We have always wanted to record our lives and Michaels Camera Museum show us how it used to be done.

A vanity camera from 1928

A vanity camera from 1928

This is one of the cameras they have on display.  I love it.  I love the dark green colour and I love that it was especially for a lady to use.

It is 1928 Vanity Kodak Ensemble  and comes complete with clamshell case, cardboard box with a place for lipstick, powder compact and mirror. This camera has a pride of place in the museum and in my memory of my visit.

Box cameras

Box cameras


Optima Cameras

Optima Cameras

Film from the past

Film from the past

Michaels Camera Museum is upstairs at the back of their shop at 263-269 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne.  You need to walk past all the new cameras and lenses and head to back left hand corner, climb the stairs and the museum  is at the end of the space.  It is free. You just wander in and browse. I believe that they have about 8,000 items although there are only about 2000 on display at one time. You can browse as long as you like.  The collection was started by Michaels in the 1950’s  and they keep adding to it.  It is strange to think that out point and snap cameras maybe gazed at in glass cases in 50 or so years.

Even if you aren’t particularly interested in old cameras, if you are in Elizabeth Street or Bourke Street Mall (it is just around the corner) check out this collection,  It includes spy cameras, old film and lenses, and light meters.  It makes me wonder at how far we have come. We take a quick snap with no thought but raising the camera so we can see through the view finder. We a get a clear picture in beautiful colour.  I think the path from these old cameras to the present day is what makes the museum so amazing.  As I browsed I remembered an old camera of my father’s packed away.  I hadn’t looked at it for years but I have hunted it out.

Soho camera side view

My Father’s Soho camera

His old Soho camera is beautifully preserved and when I push the silver button it appears in working order.  I wonder if I had the correct film whether it would actually take a photo?  I have it on display at the moment and I am charmed by it.

Be warned if you go Michaels Camera  Museum you may get caught up in the wonder of these old pieces.  There is a sort of romance about them.  One visit isn’t enough for me – there is only so much you can take.  I am going back again and probably again after that.


Where:    Michaels Cameras
263-269 Elizabeth Street,
Melbourne VIC 3000

Phone:    (03) 9672 2222

Web:    www.michaels.com.au

Open:    Monday to Thursday and Saturday 9.00am to 6.00pm
Friday 9.00am to 9.00pm
Sunday 11.00am to 5.00pm

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