This paper focuses on the donation in 1888 of a Sèvres Vase to the Education Department of Victoria after the International Exhibition in Melbourne. Using the vase as its focus the paper reflects on what this donation may be able to tell us about the impact, primarily on education, of a series of International Exhibitions held both in Australia and internationally between 1851 and 1900. The life of the Sèvres vase highlights the potential of the Exhibitions for the exchange of ideas internationally, the influence of the International Exhibition movement on education and the links between a 19th-century gift and the teaching of Art in 1930s Melbourne. Design/methodology/approach: The paper examines one object in relation to education in its wider historical context through a reading of the archival records relating to the Melbourne Teacher’s Training College and Melbourne High School. Findings: The influence of the educational exhibits of the 1888 Centennial International Exhibition held in Melbourne are shown to have had an impact on the design of the Melbourne Teachers Training College. Originality/value: This paper provides a new and original perspective on the Melbourne Teachers Training College and its foundation through its library and museum collections.