In the mid 1970's the Ministry for the Arts initiated a program of triennial arts festivals to promote awareness of the arts in the state. These festivals were of short duration and concentrated on specific areas of the arts and crafts. The Arts Victoria '78: Crafts festival, commonly known as Crafts '78, resulted in the first acquisitions for what was to become the Victorian State Craft Collection (VSCC).
Acquisitions for Crafts '78 consisted of works by craftspeople resident, or working, in Australia. It was decided that following the Crafts '78 festival, the Collection would be housed in the Metropolitan Meat Market (operated by the Meat Market Craft Centre company) and displayed at appropriate places throughout the state.
By the end of 1978, 150 works had been acquired in the areas of ceramics, metalwork, jewellery, glass, leather, wood and textiles. Most of the 150 works appeared in the original exhibition of the Collection at the opening of the Meat Market Craft Centre in November 1979. In 1980, the Ministry for the Arts announced that an annual allowance would be provided to enable ongoing acquisitions to be made. This state-based funding was supplemented by the Crafts Board of the Australia Council.
In 1982, a curator was appointed to manage the VSCC and co-ordinate purchases, liaison between craftspeople, their agent or gallery, and the Meat Market Craft Centre management.
The VSCC acquisition policy directed purchase of recent works only - no more than three years old. This policy informed subsequent purchasing focus towards documenting the newest, experimental, and innovative or fringe activities in the crafts. It was also intended that when works were 10 years old that they would be dispersed and offered on permanent loan to galleries and museums throughout Victoria. However, this did not eventuate at the end of the decade. The last VSCC acquisition was made in 1990. The Collection comprised 465 works.
In 2003, following the closure of the Meat Market Craft Centre company, the custodianship of the VSCC was passed to a consortium of five regional galleries, each housing the craft area that suited their expertise and existing collection. The consortium consisted of: Ararat Gallery (fibre, leather and textiles), Gippsland Art Gallery (wood), Hamilton Art Gallery (metalwork and jewellery), La Trobe Regional Gallery (glass) and Shepparton Art Gallery (ceramics).
This series consists of the administrative records of the VSCC. It documents the acquisition, valuation, conservation and description activities for the artworks in the Collection.
The series includes:
The VSCC acquisition register which records the name of maker, date of acquisition, code, purchase price, description of acquisition and place purchased from
;Records of committees such as the Acquisition Advisory Committee
;Biographical information about the creators of the artworks including consent forms for most of the pieces acquired. This biographical information is organised alphabetically according to the surname of the maker
;Photographs and negatives of works in the VSCC; and