The Leisure Collection comprises objects, images, documents, sound recordings and intangible representations related to the various recreational activities that Victorians have pursued in the past and are pursuing in contemporary life. Leisure within this collection plan generally refers to the popular, amateur and the everyday, rather than elite and professional activities.
Items range from small and medium-sized personal items such as dolls and related furniture and costumes, swimming costumes, board games, fishing rods, jigsaw puzzles, café crockery, a model aeroplane kit, tents, surfboards, bats, balls, a picnic set and pinball machine, cameras, show bags and marbles, to large objects like cars, a piano and a caravan. It also includes photographs and documents such as tickets, posters, Café menus and booklets. The 1956 Melbourne Olympics collection is a small but significant collection of ephemera and objects relating to both sports people and spectators.
For many people, a large part of personal and cultural expression is articulated through recreational and leisure activities. It can occur in various forms, whether through large public events, such as Moomba and the Olympic Games, mainstream festivals (such as popular music, fashion, food, comedy and film), cultural group activities such as the Midsumma Festival, Seniors Week and The Other Film Festival, various amateur sporting activities, or the numerous individual pursuits that occur all over Melbourne on any given day.
Some of the important sub-collections include: the Aldred Collection, Endacott Collection, Laminex Collection, Nowell Collection, State Electricity Commission Collection, Max Mint Toy Collection, Phar Lap Collection, Black Cat Café Collection, Francis Collection, Le Forgeron Marionette Collection, Harry Johns Boxing Troupe Collection, Biggest Family Album, and Laurie Richards Collection.