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Then and Now

How has life changed in Australia?

Student looking at a piece of the exhibition

What was life like for your Grandma and Grandpa when they were your age? Did they play games on computers or watch movies on their own television?

In Then and Now, students handle objects and explore the galleries to investigate how life has changed in Australia over the last 100 years.


  • Help students understand continuity and change.
  • Give students an opportunity to explore the collection of the National Museum of Australia.
  • Introduce students to the idea of collections and the link between collecting and remembering.
  • Familiarise students with the concept that museum objects help us remember stories from the past and tell stories of the present.
  • Provide hands-on exploration of a diverse collection of objects to facilitate discussions about the past and the present, as it relates to objects in the home.

Program details

Year levelsPreschool – Year 4
Group size30 students (note that two groups can run concurrently)
Duration90 minutes
Cost$7 per student
AvailabilityMonday–Friday at 10am and 1pm

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


  • Introductory activity – students are introduced to the concept of change over time. They handle a large range of objects that would have been used in the home at different times in the past and discuss how these objects have changed.
  • Gallery activity – working in groups, students explore the Museum's galleries and participate in a Then & Now treasure hunt, looking at and drawing objects that have changed over time.
  • Reflection – students share with the class the objects they found interesting in the Museum and discuss how these objects have changed over time.

Exploring the Museum

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

Related resources

You may also be interested in the following online interactives:

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