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History challenge

The National Museum of Australia is a proud sponsor of the National History Challenge, an annual research-based competition for students. The challenge emphasises and rewards quality research, the use of community resources and effective presentation.

National History Challenge. For Australian students.

National History Challenge 2017

Would you like the chance to have an exhibit of yours on display at the National Museum of Australia?

Enter this year’s National History Challenge in the Museum Exhibit or Indigenous History in Australia category. The national winner will have their winning exhibit displayed at the National Museum in Canberra in 2017.

For your chance to win the Museum Exhibit category, you need to create an engaging museum exhibit exploring this year's theme, Making a better world? For your chance to win the Indigenous History in Australia category, your entry can be in any format.

Think of a story, event or issue that reflects the theme and then find out more about it.

See our Defining Moments in Australian History website for inspiration.

1978: First Gay Mardi Gras march, Sydney
First Gay Mardi Gras
1978: First Gay Mardi Gras march, Sydney
1890–91: Depression and strikes; formation of the Labor Party
ALP forms
1890–91: Depression and strikes; formation of the Labor Party
1902: Commonwealth Franchise Act gives women the vote in federal elections
Franchise Act
1902: Commonwealth Franchise Act gives women the vote in federal elections
1961: The Pill
The Pill
1961: Introduction of the oral contraceptive pill
newspaper with elaborate masthead. There is no text; just the woodcut image of Kelly firing his revolver
Ned Kelly
1880: Ned Kelly’s last stand at Glenrowan, Victoria
Crowd on bridge with flags
Walk for reconciliation
2000: Walk for Reconciliation across Sydney Harbour Bridge

Featured moments for social change

Join the conversation

Check our top tips for making a museum display

Pick a topic that interests and engages you
Your knowledge and enthusiasm will communicate itself to your audience.

Know your audience
Be clear in your mind who you want your exhibit to appeal to. Do all your thinking, planning, writing and designing with your audience in mind.

Understand why your topic matters
So – a few people did things and stuff happened. So what? Know why your topic is important and why it still matters to people today.

Tell a story
Take people on a journey. Create a sense of time and place. Help people make an emotional connection.

Use an object
Objects are a great way to tell a story. Museums use objects to share their stories all the time.

Make your exhibit interesting
Combine stories of interesting people, ideas and materials in unexpected ways.

Make your exhibit interactive
See if there are ways your audience can interact with your exhibit. Can they touch things, turn pages, listen to audio or even smell anything?

Use design to help communicate your message
Think carefully. What colours, typeface and layout will help communicate your message?

Be practical
You will need to package and post your exhibit for judging. Make sure it will fit in a box, and not break in the post! Judges want to see it just as you meant it to look.

Museum Exhibit 2016 winner

Laura Ashby of Sheffield School in Tasmania, won the national prize in the Museum Exhibit category for her representation of the battles of Little Bighorn and Wounded Knee.

Laura's exhibit was on show at the National Museum during December 2016 and January 2017. Laura’s work reflects a deep and nuanced understanding of the theme of this year’s National History Challenge theme, ‘Triumph or tragedy?’ The judges commented that her creation was ‘original in conception and detailed in its interrogation of sources … an outstanding piece of work.’

A museum display.