You are in site section: Engage & learn

School holiday program: Discovery Space

Drop in to our Discovery Space program during the school holidays. Have fun creating your own take home piece inspired by our exhibitions, or join in our group activities.

Coming up

Play with plays

Weekdays 13–24 April
Sessions: 10–11am, 11am – 12 noon, 12–1pm

Imagine putting on a miniature play in your living room, complete with sets, scripts, costumes and characters. School holiday visitors can bring their stories to life on the stage by making a toy theatre, inspired by the one on show in our Journeys gallery.

A toy theatre
Toy theatre belonging to Edward Everitt, late 19th century. National Museum of Australia. Photo: Dean McNicoll.

Toy theatres were a popular form of family entertainment and storytelling in the 1800s. Every object in the Museum has a story to tell and this activity encourages children to tell the story of one of their favourite objects in their own mini toy theatre. Check out our Collection Explorer for great National Museum of Australia objects and stories.

Children can also work with puppeteer Marianne Mettes from PuppetOOdle to help her bring some of the Museum’s toy theatre stories to a bigger stage.

Cost: $3 children, adults free, children on Friends full membership free.

Buy session tickets on the day at the Information Desk.

Play with Plays photos from 13-24 April on Flickr

Puppeteer Marianne Mettes with puppets.
Marianne Mettes from PuppetOOdle with some of her puppet friends. Courtesy: Marianne Mettes.

Make your own toy theatre at home

If you can't make it to the Museum in person you can download our activity sheets and make your own toy theatre at home.

Past programs

Carts, carriages and carousels

In the January 2015 Discovery Space program children made their own hobbyhorse or horsedrawn toy cart, inspired by the toys on show in the Spirited: Australia's Horse Story exhibition, and the wonderful variety of horsedrawn vehicles at the Museum.

Kids also added their mark to a magical horsedrawn sulky carriage that has a history of transporting children to school.


See children's responses to Carts, carriages and carousels


Carts, carriages and carousels photos from 12-23 Jan on Flickr

Fun at home

Be inspired by our earlier Discovery Space programs and check out these free instructions to craft your own creations at home.

Upcoming events

Visit our online calendar for the full range of fun activities for families and children.