Preserving and displaying exhibits
Percy Grainger stated that the Grainger Museum was intended to ‘preserve and display exhibits collected by me during the last 40 years’ including material about his personal and professional life, as well as the ‘many different aspects’ of other composers and their works. By contrast, the Music Museum would ‘preserve and exhibit things of general musical interest and things connected the general musical life of Australia’. Grainger sought out the musical collections of Professor Marshall-Hall, first Professor of Music at the University of Melbourne, as the first major acquisition for the Music Museum.
After setting up the initial display for the Opening in 1938, Percy and Ella Grainger spent a further nine months at the Museum in 1955-56, working intensely to organise and enrich the exhibition contents. They documented everything in the collection carefully and in great detail, on swing tags and display legends, in indexes and lists of ‘sendings’. They created descriptive 'Legends' to describe themed areas in the collection. Percy continued to add to the Museum’s contents, sending ‘countless parcels’through the 1940s and 1950sfor the Museum’s part time Curators to receive and install. Ella continued to be involved in the Museum after her husband’s death, visiting a number of times in the 1960s.