Theme for 2012: People and Consequences
Our challenge to you is to create a museum exhibit, either physically or digitally, that explores the life (or part of the life) of an individual in history and the impact that person has had on their society or the nation, or even possibly the world. Below are some resources that might inspire you in your research for significant people.
- nma.gov.au/exhibitions/eternity – Eternity is a National Museum of Australia gallery which examines the lives of 50 Australians, famous and not so famous, living and deceased.
- indigenousrights.net.au/people.asp - Collaborating for Indigenous Rights website gives an example of different people related to a particular theme.
Choose a person in history who interests you – either because they resonate with you personally or because you regard them as locally, nationally or internationally significant.
Research the person.
By all means use an encyclopaedia, a history textbook or other secondary sources to begin with. But also consult primary sources – newspaper articles, photographs, objects or other historical sources.
It is very important to try to gain different perspectives on the person and to understand aspects of their life in more than one way.
Represent the person.
Consider both the content and the form:
- Whose story will you tell?
- Will one point of view about this person dominate or will you provide several narrative threads?
- How will your audience gain a sense of the consequences or impacts of this person?
- What evidence can you provide to illustrate this?
Make sure you include a combination of media. Use visual material as well as text and – if your exhibit is digital – audio or video.
Some elements you might use in your exhibit are:
- one or more significant objects related to your subject.
- labels that explain and/or comment on the subject.
- map showing significant locations
- a timeline showing what happened before, during and after – you might include other people’s lives if they help to set the scene
- photographs, text, audio or video material that captures part of the story
4. Write a curatorial statement
Once you have created your museum exhibit of the person you have chosen, the final step is to write a statement explaining your personal approach to the challenge, and how your exhibit relates to the theme of People and Consequences. For example, does the person reflect certain values or attitudes? Or did they help to change the way we think about an issue?
5. Submit your entry
Depending on whether you have created a physical or digital exhibit, you should submit your entry as either a ‘museum display’ or ‘multimedia’. For details of the submission process, see the National History Challenge website.
Elements to consider as you undertake the challenge:
- Give your exhibit a creative title that conveys the significance of your chosen subject and the tone of your exhibit.
- Ensure your display is supported by historical research.
- Use the voice of the person whose story you are telling or those of other people who knew the person – ie quote them.
- Use relevant and appropriate labels to support the evidence.
- Consider the length of your labels and how much text your audience will read.
- Consider how the design of your museum display might enhance the presentation of the story – for example, would audio or video bring it to life, or are they unnecessary?
- Make sure the language and style of your exhibit remains consistent.
- Check that all objects, images and video/audio have correct and appropriate references; for example: Joe Donovan – 1974 Commonwealth Games jacket, National Museum of Australia.
- Include a compelling curatorial statement that explains how you approached the challenge and any obstacles you overcame.