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Early institutions in the Colony included the Museum of Natural History established in 1854.
In 1870, under the provisions of the Library Museums and National Gallery Act 1869 33 Vic., No.357, the Industrial and Technological Museum replaced the earlier institution. The Trustees of the Public Library, Museums and National Gallery of Victoria were appointed to jointly administer the Public Library, Museums and National Gallery until 1944.
In 1945 the Industrial and Technological Museum became the Museum of Applied Science, which in turn became the Institute of Applied Science in 1961 under the State Library, National Gallery, National Museum and Institute of Applied Science Act 1960. From 1971 the Science Museum and National Museum were amalgamated to form the Museum of Victoria.
From 1944 these institutions were administered by Trustees separately appointed for each body and later by Councils including the National Museum of Victoria and Science Museum of Victoria Councils from 1971.
In 1972 a Minister of the Arts was appointed and assumed responsibility in 1976 for museums, previously under the control of the Chief Secretary (VRG 26).