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Investigating Sources

 

How do objects help historians uncover the stories of the past?

Group of students looking at an open tin

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.

Details

Year levels 5–12 (8–12 for Qld, WA and SA)
Group size 40 students – two groups can run concurrently
Duration 2 hours
Cost $6 per student
Availability Tuesday–Friday at 10am and 1pm

Alternate times may be available for local schools. Please contact bookings@nma.gov.au for further information.
Curriculum links
Australian History curriculum links to our programs (178kb PDF)

Aims

  • 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.

Structure

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

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.