How do objects help historians uncover the stories of the past?
What is the role of a historian? And what is the role of a historian or curator in a museum? How do objects help historians uncover the stories of the past?
In Investigating Sources students handle and investigate a variety of source materials and are challenged to consider how reliable the sources are in telling Australia's history. This program provides students with the opportunity to use a digital camera to photograph primary sources within an exhibit, and activity cards to identify the ways each source has been used to explain the story or theme in the exhibit and the limitations of each source. All photographs will be available on our website for follow-up classroom activities.
|Year levels||7–12 (8–12 for Qld, WA and SA)|
|Group size||40 students – two groups can run concurrently|
|Cost||$6 per student|
|Availability||Tuesday–Friday at 10am, 12pm, 3pm|
||Australian History curriculum links to our programs (178kb PDF)
- Give students an opportunity to examine historical sources to determine what the sources can (and cannot) tell us about an event, person or issue in Australian history.
- Challenge students to investigate the reliability of primary sources.
- Enable students to explore and interpret how historical sources have been used in the Museum to illustrate events in Australian history.
- Introductory activity – through the examination of a variety of primary sources, students explore the meaning, context and reliability of each source and draw conclusions about the usefulness of such sources for historical research.
- Gallery activity – working in groups, students explore the Museum's galleries and photograph primary sources within a specific exhibit, identifying the ways each source has been used to explain the story or theme in the exhibit and the limitations of each source.
- Reflection – students gather to discuss how the various sources in their chosen exhibit have been used to tell the history of the event or theme. They also discuss how their photographs might be used for further research and reflect on the use of primary sources.
Exploring the Museum
You may like to allow extra time to visit other exhibitions and to explore other places in the Museum, such as Circa and Kspace. For everything you need to know about visiting, see Plan and book a visit.
These activity ideas might be useful in your classroom.
You may also be interested in these teacher resources:
- Investigating the Changing Rights and Freedoms of Indigenous Australians, 1957–1975 – a unit of work exploring Indigenous rights on an interactive timeline
- Life at the Time of Federation – using a time capsule this unit of work explores life in Australia in 1901
- From Little Things Big Things Grow – a unit of work exploring what objects can tell us about the development of Indigenous rights in Australia
You can also see the full list of resources related to historical skills.