About Us

Our Mission

Preserving, Connecting, and Inspiring

Through the care and preservation of its collection, the RD Milns Antiquities Museum seeks to educate and innovate by engaging with its communities and with the past. The Museum is a dynamic public space that encourages interaction with, and understanding of, the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, and the profound impact that these cultures have had upon the literature, art, politics, and society of our modern world.

Our History

In 1963, the purchase at a London auction-house of a 5th century BC Red-figure Attic amphora marked the establishment of a collection of antiquities designed to enrich the teaching programs of Classics and Ancient History at The University of Queensland.

The RD Milns Antiquities Museum is now the foremost collection of classical Mediterranean antiquities in Queensland. A highly accessible teaching museum for both the general public and university-level students and researchers, the Museum has grown from a small collection of artefacts to a catalogue of several thousands.

The Museum's archaeological material reflects the achievements of the ancient civilisations that developed in the lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The collection provides the only comprehensive survey of ancient Mediterranean antiquities on public view in Queensland. The objects span almost 3500 years of history and are made of a variety of materials including stone, pottery, metalware, and glass. Together they give a picture of the technological and artistic achievements made by the forerunners of Western civilisation.

In 2007 the Antiquities Museum was renamed after Emeritus Professor Bob Milns AM, retired professor of Classics and Ancient History at UQ and a great supporter and benefactor of the Museum throughout his long career.

The Antiquities Museum no longer acquires artefacts by purchase from the antiquities market in recognition of the significant issues with the trade in antiquities. While it is legal to purchase artefacts, in most cases it is not possible to be entirely sure that they were not looted from their country of origin. In many cases, the origins of purchased artefacts are obscure. While many artefacts in our existing collection have partial ownership histories, only a handful have secure, archaeological findspots and a fully documented chain of ownership from excavation to UQ.

In 2013 the RD Milns Antiquities Museum celebrated its 50th anniversary at The University of Queensland with a major exhibition entitled 'Then and Now: 50 Years of Antiquities.' A number of significant acquisitions also marked this occasion.

The Antiquities Museum is part of the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at The University of Queensland.