Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A new channel for dialogue with educators

Dear readers, Education at the National Museum of Australia now has a new space for communicating with educators. Presently, it is focused on the political cartooning competition for students in years 4 through 12. (Check it out!) But over time, it will grow in new directions. A powerful, flexible environment with new tools – it is set to flourish.

Know that we also plan to migrate all the content from here into the new space. (There's currently an obstacle in my way there, but I'm working on it.)

--> So, visit us in our new home. And drop us a line if it takes your fancy – we love to hear from you.

Best wishes from the Education team.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Snapshots of Remote Communities 2010 – WA Museum Albany Road trip

After Ned and I headed back to Canberra, the Snapshots of Remote Communities road trip continued.

Jenny, Education Officer with the WA Museum Albany drove approximately 1200 kilometres to visit four other schools who, together with Tambellup Primary School (see road trip report Day 2), make up the 2010 Albany region Snapshots schools.

The story of Jenny’s trip follows:

Tuesday 9 February

Drove to Kendenup Primary School (71 km from Albany) with dark skies and cloud building. I was talking with the teachers when a huge clap of thunder was followed by a lightning strike in the paddock across the road from the school.

This was followed by the skies opening and heavy rain drowned out the remainder of the presentation.

The storm followed me back to Albany and we watched in awe the spectacular lightning, overhead thunder and heavy rain continued until early morning.
Storm over Albany harbour at dusk.
Wednesday 10 February

I left Albany to drive to Kondinin Primary School (386 km) for an afternoon information session. The storm had come across the wheatbelt, so as I travelled firstly east, then turned north, trees were over the road. With the storm damage had come electricity failures; however fortunately as I travelled north, the Western Power people were restoring power to towns, banks and, most importantly for me, petrol stations.

I drove up through Borden, Ongerup, Lake Grace, Kulin and on to Kondinin. The temperature on arrival was approximately 38 degrees Celsius, and I was informed that was quite normal and a not particularly hot day for Kondinin!
Kondinin Primary School.
It was at this point I began to find Ned Kelly's cousins along the roadside. My first encounter was at Kulin, on the side of the road was Ned Kelly's horse, armed with rifle and Ned's helmet.

Opposite the school was another cousin standing in a garden. I went inside the B&B where I was staying and there he was again!
Welcome Jenny! Ned in the garden of a B&B in Kondinin.

Ned's horse, near the Kulin Country Races.
Thursday 11 February

Heading south from Kondinin to Jerdacuttup Primary (309 km) saw me driving back down through Kulin, Lake Grace, Newdegate, Lake King then south to Ravensthorpe and across to Jerdacuttup 45km east, then 5k down a dirt track to the school.

Stopped for a coffee at Newdegate and there on the shop counter was another of Ned's cousins. I bought that one!
Pink Lake (salt lakes north of Lake Grace) beautiful!
More of Ned's cousins at King Lake.
Lake King sign showing the Rabbit Proof Fence. Jerdacuttup PS sits on the fence further south, on its way to the coast.
Old rabbit proof fence at the turn off before 5 km of dirt road, Fence Road, to the Jerdacuttup school.
Jerdi Primary school cute! 16 students plus two school buses (the kids call them 'the cat' and 'the mouse'!).
Friday 12 February

Drove back to Albany from Ravensthorpe. Total km 1100 in 2 ½ days!

Wednesday 17 February

Drove to Walpole Primary School to meet the lovely and welcoming staff and complete the final information session for the 2010 project.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snapshots of Remote Communities 2010 - Road trip Day 4 (Kalgoorlie)

Friday 5 February 2010 (Kalgoorlie)

Today Peta, Western Australian Museum Education Officer, and I presented a professional
learning information day with four participating Snapshots teachers - one each from Kalgoorlie Primary, Kalgoorlie School of the Air, Coolgardie Primary and Grass Patch Primary.

Our venue was the Western Australian Museum in Kalgoorlie which has exhibitions including a Gold Vault, a miner's cottage, the British Arms Hotel and the Ivanhoe Headframe.

The regional exhibtion for the Snapshots project will be held at the Museum's British Arms hotel, a
heritage listed building
claimed to be the narrowest pub in the southern hemisphere.

Like Sue at Menzies Remote Community School and the teachers at Tambellup Primary, the
teachers today shared their enagaging and exciting plans for the project.

From restoring a school history lost in a school office fire, reconnecting with stories of
parents and grandparents to using a local Town Hall as a school exhibtion venue and learning about the process and practice of photography, the students from these schools are in for a great year with Snapshots!

Following our time with the teachers, Peta showed me the KCGM Superpit, an open pit gold
mine which will eventually be 600 metres deep and 3.8km wide. From the lookout, we could see a range of trucks and digging machines, as well as layers of colour striated through the current 450 metre depth of the mine.

Back to Canberra tomorrow via Perth, Ned and I are looking forward sharing our adventures with our team at the National Museum. We're also excited to see the photos, artworks, stories and histories created and uncovered aas part of Snapshots 2010.

Snapshots of Remote Communities 2010 - Road trip Day 3 (Kalgoorlie and Menzies)

Thursday 4 February 2010 (Albany, Kalgoorlie, Menzies)

Today's travel began with a flight from Albany to Perth then a second flight (537km) from Perth to Kalgoorlie. Ned and I were met at the Kalgoorlie-Boulder airport by Peta, Education Officer at the Western Australian Museum Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

In the air again - Albany to Perth and onto Kalgoorlie-Boulder

A brief stop at the Museum was followed by a 130km trip out to Menzies, north of Kalgoorlie, to meet the Principal, Sue, at Menzies Remote Community School.

This school of 57 students is one of five
schools in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region,
accompanying the
five schools supported by the Western Australian Museum Albany.

After visiting Menzies, we ventured a further 51km to Lake Ballard to see one of the most intriguing art installations in Australia, the Inside Australia sculptures by Anton Gormley.

51 scupltures modelled on residents of Menzies are arranged in a 7 km radius in the middle of the salty Lake Ballard.

In addition to the incredible changing colours of the landscape as the day faded into night during the return trip to Kalgoorlie, strong impressions from today include the ribbons of road unrolling endlessly into the distance and the stillness and soft, rustling wind in the trees around the Lake.

Fading light, Lake Ballard
Tomorrow we'll be spending more time exploring the Museum and meeting with teachers from the other four Kalgoorlie based schools.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Snapshots of Remote Communities 2010 - Road trip Day 2 (Albany and Tambellup)

Wednesday 3 February 2010 - Albany and Tambellup

Today Ned and I met Jenny, Education Officer with the Western Australian Museum Albany.
Jenny gave us a tour of Albany with a special focus on the Museum.

Albany has a large inland
harbour which made it a safe place visited by many explorers. European settlement began in 1824 as a convict settlement that was part of the colony of New South Wales. A couple of years later, Albany became part of the new Swan River colony.

We learnt that the Indigenous language name for Albany is Kinjaling which means place of
rain. We also discovered that the suffix 'up' which is used in many towns around Albany (eg, Tambellup, Kendenup and Jerdacuttup) has the meaning'place of' while in other regions, the suffix 'in' (eg, Kondinin) has the same meaning.

Looking down the main street, York Street, towards the harbour

The Western Australia museum documents the local natural, social and maritime history and the cultural heritage of the local Aboriginal people.

Images from the Museum: the One Teacher School, the Eclipse Lighthouse exhibition and the
Marine Discovery Centre.

The Museum includes the Residency.

Operated by the Albany History Society, next to the Museum is the replica of the Amity, the brig which brought the first European settlers to Albany in 1876. You can go below deck to see how people lived while travelling on the ship.

Replica of the Amity, Albany

After exploring the Museum, it was time to hit the road and drive to 2010 participating
school, Tambellup Primary. 125 km from Albany and home to 100 students in a town of 450 people,Tambellup Primary is bubbling with great ideas for Snapshots of Remote Communities.

We're really looking forward to seeiing the snapshots of students from Tambellup!
Thank you to Jenny and Malcolm from the Western Australian Museum Albany and to the staff of Tambellup Primary for an interesting day.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Snapshots of Remote Communities 2010 - Road trip Day 1 (Travel to Albany)

In 2010, the National Museum of Australia's outreach project, Snapshots of Remote Communities, is being conducted in partnership with the Western Australia Museum Albany and the Western Australian Museum Kalgoorlie-Boulder and a number of schools in both regions.

is a photography and storytelling project through which students learn about their
communities, local history and how museums work through developing an exhibition to showcase their learning and experiences.

Students' photographs will become part of an exhibition at their school, at their partner museum and online at the National Museum Snapshots page. Past exhibitions of Snaps
hots can be seen here.

To commence 2010 project activities, project mascot, Ned and I, a Senior Education Officer with the National Museum, are travelling to Western Australia to meet our museum partners and some of the participating teachers.

Along the way, Ned and I will be taking some of our own snapshots to document this part of the project...we are looking forward to the trip!

2 Feb 2010 Canberra to Perth to Albany, Western Australia

In transit - Ned taking a coffee break during our stop over in Sydney airport before the 3337km flight to Perth.

Names and places in WA
- checking departure times at the Perth airport...

Ned thinks Cloudbreak is a great name!

Buckle up
- Ned straps himself in for the 375km flight from Perth to Albany.

From the air - snapshots of the changing landscape from Perth to Albany: mines, farmland, river courses, red dirt tracks...can't wait to see some of this from the ground (and maybe the sky!) through the students' snapshots this year.

Arriving in Albany - the welcome from the Amazing Albany airport.

Albany is the oldest European settlement in Western Australia and was established shortly before Perth in 1826. 400km from Perth, Albany hugs the Southern Coast of WA.

Tomorrow we'll be visiting the Western Australian Museum Albany and travelling to two of our Albany schools.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Celebrating Harmony Day 2010

Celebrating Harmony Day 2010
A special program for primary students at the National Museum of Australia

The National Museum of Australia is offering a special Migration Stories education program to celebrate Harmony Day in March 2010. Harmony Day celebrates the cohesive and inclusive nature of Australia and promotes cultural diversity.

Download the flier here to find out more information about the special Migration Stories education program. For bookings and further enquiries, please phone (02) 6208 5345 or email

Mara Mason in her Latvian national costume sharing her family migration story
at the National Museum of Australia.