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Museums and History

How does form shape content?

Boy using an ipad to take a picture
Photo: George Serras, National Museum of Australia

How do film, lighting, graphics and multimedia affect the ways we read an exhibit?

Who gets to decide the stories a museum tells?

This program provides students with the opportunity to use an iPad to take photos that help them deconstruct and analyse exhibits.

All photographs will be available on our website for follow-up classroom activities.


Year levels 11–12
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.


  • Help students develop critical and reflective thinking skills essential for understanding how exhibitions construct accounts of history.
  • Enable students to consider how display affects meaning and how museum displays present particular historical perspectives.
  • Encourage students to consider the role of the curator and understand how this role relates to historiographical ideas and processes.


  1. Introductory activity – as they examine a range of objects, students discuss the interrelationships between components of an exhibit and consider the methods used to exhibit objects and how their display impacts the interpretation of history.
  2. Gallery activity – working in groups, students explore the Museum's galleries and photograph an exhibit of their choice, identifying the components and display methods used by the curator to convey the interpretation of history.
  3. Reflection – students gather to discuss the exhibit they have documented and consider how the curators have presented their interpretation of history.

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.