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Investigating Sources

Onsite school programs

The National Museum of Australia's school programs are led by Museum staff and designed for students Foundation to Year 12. Check out our curriculum-linked programs or request a booking.

Historical skills

Inquiry questions, perspectives, source analysis and chronology are all essential skills for historians. In Investigating Sources, students identify and develop a range of historical skills and creatively report back their findings, understandings and conclusions through ICT.

A group of school children looking at a painting on the floor.


  • Provide students with the opportunity to practise historical inquiry - identify and analyse relevant primary and secondary sources and construct chronologies and narratives using ICT
  • Challenge students to investigate the reliability of primary sources
  • Encourage students to develop empathy for key people and events in 19th- and 20th-century Australian history
  • Enable students to explore and interpret how historical sources have been used in the Museum to illustrate events in Australian history.


Year levels 5–10 (6–12 for Qld, WA and SA)
Group size 40 students (note that two groups can run concurrently)
Duration 2 hours
Cost $6 per student
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 (PDF 225kb)


  1. Introductory activity – students work initially as a whole group and then in small groups to identify and analyse primary and secondary sources. Through object handling, they consider how sources can tell histories and represent different perspectives.
  2. Gallery activity – working in groups, students create an analytical and empathetic response to an exhibit: they record what sources were used and how they were used and identify significant inquiry questions before making a digital response that creatively demonstrates their understanding.
  3. Reflection – students share with the class the objects and stories they focused on and contextualise these investigations chronologically. Students are asked to consider the ways in which history is recorded and how perspective and personal histories are embedded in historical sources.

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:

You can also see the full list of resources related to historical skills.