My Melbourne with Jason Benjamin

May 13 / 109

My Melbourne with Jason Benjamin
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What is your unit?
Cultural Collections Unit, University Library

What is your job title?
Conservation Programs Co-ordinator

How long have you been with the University of Melbourne, how did you come to work at the University?

I started as a volunteer at the University of Melbourne Archives helping to list collections in 1998. I then worked as a casual at the Archives and Special Collections in the Baillieu Library prior to taking up a permanent role at the Archives in 2001. I commenced in my current role in 2008. 

Describe your typical day.

The role of the Cultural Collections Unit is to provide support for the University’s 30 cultural collections. A typical day would involve advising collection managers on preservation issues and disaster preparedness along with other aspects of collection management.  The Unit also manages the University Library’s exhibition program so there are always tasks around planning, preparation and installation.

I also edit the Cultural Collections Unit’s recently launched monthly e-newsletter listing news, events and exhibitions related to the University’s cultural collections. You can subscribe to the newsletter via the Cultural Collections website at
What do you like most about working at the University of Melbourne, what is it about your job that holds your interest or is particularly satisfying?

The diverse range of collections I am privileged to work with, everything from prints by Rembrandt to natural history specimens. The knowledge that in a small way I am helping preserve important collections for future generations.

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

“Look with your eyes and not your hands”. Vitally important when working with rare and fragile cultural material.

What is something about yourself that most of your colleagues wouldn't know?

I am a qualified chef, having completed a 4 year cooking apprenticeship between high school and University.  

Where do you buy your coffee on campus?

Professors Court Café next to the Baillieu Library 

What do you like most about the University?

The gardens and, of course, the University’s fabulous museums and collections which can easily be visited during your lunch break to see some great exhibitions covering a broad range of subjects.  Highlights for me include the Grainger Museum, Medical History Museum, Leigh Scott Gallery in the Baillieu Library and the Dental History Museum.  

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