The Australian Orphanage Museum (AOM) is a unique museum dedicated to documenting and exhibiting authentic social histories about the experience of growing up in orphanages, children’s Homes, Missions and other institutions, including foster care, in Australia. The AOM was established by Care Leavers, for Care Leavers, so that our history is visible to all Australians. Our collection contains hundreds of items from Australian children’s homes, and every object has a story to tell.
The AOM has a nationally significant collection that dates from the late nineteenth century to the present day. We have hundreds of items in our collection and on display. The objects include: badges, photos, plaques, memorabilia, personal diaries, suitcases, signs, cots, artworks, crockery and utensils. Here are just some of the historical items on display at the AOM.
We have an extensive collection of fundraising badges from institutions all over Australia.View
The AOM’s collection of artworks includes art and craft pieces by Care Leavers as well as works by established artists created in response to Care Leaver issues, such as the Raft of the Clan by Peter Daverington (2018), commissioned to honour survivors of child sexual abuse and the fight for justice.
The AOM collection is highly emotive and many poignant objects are held. Donated objects such as toys resonate with the stories of Care Leavers and help people to understand the childhoods of thousands of Australians. Whilst in orphanages or Children’s Homes, it could be difficult for children to hold onto their possessions. Items could be easily lost or stolen or removed by the adults in charge.View
The AOM features a permanent exhibition, complemented by a program of short-term, temporary displays and activities focused on matters of special interest.
The Australian Orphanage Museum is an initiative of the Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN). CLAN offers support to people who have grown up in orphanages, children’s homes, missions, foster care and other child welfare institutions in Australia and New Zealand. We also support close family members of Care Leavers.