1987 - The University of Melbourne’s recognition of the discipline began with the employment of a part- time conservator to service the Universities collections of cultural material. The Sir Russell and Lady Mab Grimwade Miegunyah Bequest provided financial support for the conservator’s employment
1990 - The Ian Potter Foundation supported the refurbishment of a laboratory which was subsequently renamed the Ian Potter Art Conservation Centre. The operating budget for the Ian Potter Conservation Centre was $50k and the Business Plan outlined the aims and responsibilities as encompassing:
- Teaching and research, managed through the Fine Arts department
- Conservation for the University collections, including treatment, policy and management advice
- Commercial programs for external clients, including training, research and treatment work on public and private collections
1993 - The Centre budget grew to $175k through increased support from the Grimwade Miegunyah Bequest
1994 - Launched the fee-for-service commercial program for external clients. In the first year of operation the commercial program generated $35k of new revenue which steadily grew to $1.13m by 2010.
2004 - During this period of commercial growth, a newly invigorated Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation was established as a joint initiative of the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Science and the Ian Potter Museum of Art in recognition of the potential for unique interdisciplinary collaboration in the field of Cultural Materials Conservation. As a Research centre within the Faculty of Arts, it extended its academic offering to include Masters by Coursework and Research Higher Degrees, as well as postgraduate certificates and diplomas. Coinciding with the establishment of the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, the Commercial Services arm of the business is relocated off campus to the Public Records Office in North Melbourne.
2010 - Commercial Services was transferred from the Faculty of Arts to UoM Commercial Ltd, the commercial engagement services company of the University of Melbourne. Despite a number of business reviews and structural changes between 2010 and 2018, revenue growth was slow at a variable rate of 5.6% per annum (average).
2014 - Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation receives a major philanthropic gift from the Cripps foundation of $6.9 million to support the practice and teaching of art conservation. The gift is believed to be the world’s largest-ever in support of this field, and was pledged to support the establishment of the Grimwade Centre and a professorial chair.
2015 - A new facility, known as the Grimwade Centre is built on Swanston Street. Research, learning and teaching in the increasingly hi-tech field of cultural materials conservation is supported by state-of-the-art laboratories to enable future generations of specialist art conservators.
2017 - Professor Robyn Sloggett becomes the Inaugural Cripps Foundation Chair.
2019 - Management of Commercial Services was transferred back to the Faculty of Arts.
Today, the Grimwade Centre:
- receives a large number of ARC (Australian Research Council) grants engaging research partners from all over the world.
- remains the only provider of comprehensive postgraduate conservation training in the Asia-Pacific region, delivering teaching to over 90 enrolled Masters students and 25 PhD researchers.
- is one of the largest providers of conservation services in Australia and the only provider of University research translation and commercial partnership services in the world.