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Making a Nation

This thing called Australia

Group of girls looking at a wooden bowl with burnt-in design
Photo: Lannon Harley, National Museum of Australia

Can you think of an event in our history that has helped shape our nation?

What about an event in your lifetime that has changed Australia?

In Making a Nation students investigate the theme of nationhood by handling objects and exploring the Museum's galleries.

Students also use an iPad to photograph objects that illustrate an aspect of Australia's development as a nation, that they view as important.

Program details

Year levels 5–12 (6–12 in Qld, WA and SA)
Group size 40 students (note that two groups can run concurrently)
Duration 2 hours (90 minutes with Museum educator and 30 minutes teacher-guided exploration)
Cost $6 per student (2017)
$7 per student (2018)
Availability Tuesday–Friday at 10am and 1pm

Alternative times may be available for local schools. Please contact for further information.
Curriculum links Australian History curriculum links to our programs (225kb PDF)


  • Give students an opportunity to explore key events and periods that have shaped Australia, through object handling and gallery exploration.
  • Help students understand time, continuity and change through the construction and examination of timelines, and gallery exploration.


  1. Introductory activity – students explore objects that relate to key events and ideas in Australia's history, and then construct a timeline to discuss change in Australia.
  2. Gallery activity – working in groups, students explore the Museum's galleries and photograph objects that illustrate an aspect of Australia's development as a nation that they view as important.
  3. Reflection – students gather to discuss their selected objects and explain why their stories are important to Australian history. They also discuss how the pictures might be used for further research and reflection on Australian history and our national identity back at school.

Exploring the Museum

For everything you need to know about visiting, see Plan and book a visit.

Related resources

These activity ideas might be useful in your classroom.

You may also be interested in these teacher resources:

or this interactive:

  • Citizens' Arch – explore the symbols and designs on the 1901 Citizen's Arch

You can also see the full list of resources related to Australian history.