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Museum Voices bound for the classroom

3 FEBRUARY 2003

An ambitious series of educational materials aimed at bringing history alive for primary school students will be launched next Wednesday, February 12 at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

Our Voices - comprising 21 books, three teacher's resource books, three poster packs and a CD-ROM examines historical and contemporary issues shaping Australian culture, reflecting the Museum's main themes: Land, Nation and People.

"We are very proud to see this exciting nationwide use of Museum source material in such a beautifully produced series," says Dawn Casey, National Museum director. "We hope to encourage our youngsters up to age 12 to become better historians!"

The books, written by two Museum education experts, Jennet Cole-Adams and Judy Gauld, are closely linked to the study of society and the environment in the primary school curriculum.

Including titles such as I Am Australian, Living on the Land, Through Australian Eyes, Making Australia Home, Hardship and Opportunity and Captivating the Nation, the series is designed for either classroom discussion or independent reading and research. The titles are grouped within three levels in school years 1 to 6.

"We've worked to stimulate students into gaining a knowledge of our past by presenting them, not with a chronological approach, but with the stories of real people," says Jennet Cole-Adams. "This signature appeal of the Museum and the series helps students better understand the Australia of today."

Our Voices will be launched at the National Museum on Wednesday, February 12 at 11am by Professor Tony Taylor, Director of The National Centre for History Education at Monash University.

"The Museum is actively helping reinvigorate an interest in history in students through Our Voices, and encouraging a spirit of inquiry among them," says Professor Taylor.

Our Voices is published by educational publishers Rigby. The authors will run Professional Development workshops based on the series for primary school teachers around Australia in late February and early March.

For media enquiries, interviews and images, please contact Martin Portus on (02) 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or email m.portus@nma.gov.au