Careers in science and museums: Meeting our conservators

Textile conservator Sue Frost. Image: ANMM.

Textile conservator Sue Frost. Image: ANMM.

What a museum without its collection? The stories we tell are imbued in the objects the museum collects and the conservation department is tasked with caring for these objects. Our conservation team look after a range of artefacts, from paper to paintings, ceramics, textiles and even archaeological material recovered from the seabed. From small coins to the HMB Endeavour replica, every object is condition reported, treated and conserved. The team monitor the environmental conditions our objects are either stored or displayed in, checking light levels, relative humidity and maintaining a stable temperature.

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World Environment Day: where do you think it goes?

Join wacky expert Professor Pufferfish and field agent Greene McClean for World Environment Day. Image: ANMM.

Join wacky expert Professor Pufferfish and field agent Greene McClean for World Environment Day. Image: ANMM.

Join wacky expert Professor Pufferfish and field agent Greene McClean will find out what happens to the rubbish we leave behind. If it finds its way into our drains and waterways it can affect our wildlife and our environment. During this virtual excursion students work with our intrepid investigators to work out how we can all help in a practical way.

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NAIDOC week: unlock water and Indigenous People

NAIDOC week with the ANMM via the Virtual Classroom. Image: ANMM.

NAIDOC week with the ANMM via the Virtual Classroom. Image: ANMM.

A virtual excursion suitable for students in Years 3 to 6

To celebrate NAIDOC week, Indigenous Programs Manager Donna Carstens and special guest Uncle Terry will discuss the cultural significance of water to Indigenous people.

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Inspiring stories with Jeannie Baker

 Jeannie Baker illustration from her book Circle.

Detail from the cover of Jeannie Baker’s new book ‘Circle’. Image: Jeannie Baker.

The Australian National Maritime Museum is proud to host award winning children’s author and artist Jeannie Baker for an exclusive chat. Join us as we talk to Jeannie about her new picture Circle. Find out about Jeannie, her background, her inspirations and what it like creating a picture book.

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Twitter tour of Rough Medicine for school students

Rough Medicine
The Australian National Maritime Museum in partnership with the NSW Department of Education will share the Rough Medicine – Life and Death in the Age of Sail exhibition with teachers and students in a #TwitterTour.

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Using Twitter to Explore Our Museum

Tour the museum via tweets. Images: ANMM.

Tour the museum via tweets. Images: ANMM.

The Australian National Maritime Museum site on the waterfront here at Darling Harbour is not your usual museum. We have exhibition galleries inside the museum as well as historic vessels which you can come aboard such as the HMB Endeavour Replica, navy destroyer HMAS Vampire and submarine HMAS Onslow.

There is a lot to explore, especially if you are a teacher visiting with a busload of school students. To help teachers become familiar with our site and prepare for school excursions we created an Orientation Tour For Visiting Teachers.

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The 2016 Novice Canoe Building Challenge

Classic and Wooden Boat Festival, April 15-17 2016.

Classic and Wooden Boat Festival, April 15-17 2016.

The museum, in partnership with Drive Marine Services and The Institute of Industrial Arts Technology Education (IIATE), have joined together to host the inaugural Novice Canoe Building Challenge at the 2016 Classic & Wooden Boat Festival. The challenge requires teams of four high school students to construct a Bellinger Double Chine Canoe over three days at Festival. Brian Jones, Dave Giddings and the team from Drive Marine Services will be guiding the students through the construction process.

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A Brighter Future: The Second Annual Women and Science Symposium

In celebration of International Women’s Day on 8th March 2016, the Australian National Maritime Museum will host our second annual Women and Science Symposium for high school students.

Women in Science Symposium 2015

Women in Science Symposium 2015

It all started with a discussion with my daughter, about the number of girls opting out of studying science because of negative stereotypes. She said it was such a shame that girls were not considering science as a worthwhile option to study. As an environmental scientist, she knows that those girls are locking themselves out of some amazing careers.

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Celebrating behind-the-scenes staff: our Teacher Guides

The Teacher Guide Crew

The Teacher Guide Crew

It has long been recognised that students (and teachers!) are important audiences for museums, through both visiting our physical sites and interacting with us online. The educational value of field trips is also widely understood, as outlined in this post: “Taking students to an art museum improves critical thinking skills, and more”.

At the museum we have a talented and dedicated group of 22 or so teacher guides who, each year, deliver over 1,000 onsite programs to around 35,000 students, along with being great ambassadors for the museum and our educational values.

Thanks to all of you for your substantial efforts this year and looking forward to working with you in 2015!

And for those interested, here’s some further resources on museum education:

A Titanic moment!

A Titanic moment!

Gamifying the museum: The Voyage

SplashPage amThere is a growing interest in many parts of the world in utilising the capacities and affordances of digital games to support learning within the formal arenas of curriculum and school. The use of games-based pedagogies via online and mobile Internet-based technologies is seen as providing much potential for innovative, effective and accessible contemporary teaching and learning (Beavis, 2012; Beavis, et al, 2014), as well as a new way for museums to engage with their educational audiences (Kelly, 2013). The museum in partnership with roar film (Tasmania), Screen Australia and Screen Tasmania have developed an educational game, The Voyage, based on the nineteenth century convict experience. The Voyage takes the user on a journey from London to Van Diemen’s Land (now known as Tasmania) where players, as the ship’s Surgeon Superintendent, are rewarded for the number of healthy convicts they deliver to the fledging British colony. The game is based on detailed historical data, utilising documented ship paths, convict and medical records and diaries.

As part of the development of the game, the museum has partnered with academics Professor Catherine Beavis and Dr Leonie Rowan, Griffith University, and Dr Joanne O’Mara, Deakin University, to undertake research into games and museum educational pedagogy. I am presenting the first (of many) papers reporting on this work at the Museums and the Web Asia 2014 conference in October.

A pdf copy of the paper can be downloaded here: Gamifying the museum BEAVIS et al 2014 PAPER

Watch this space for more!

References

  • Beavis, C. (2012). Critical perspectives, enabling classrooms and digital games: challenges for teachers an researchers working with games-based learning. In Biswas, G., et al. (Eds) Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Computers in Education. Singapore: Asia-Pacific Society of Computers in Education.
  • Beavis, C., Muspratt, S. and Thompson, R. (2014) ‘Computer games can get your brain working’: student experience and perception of digital games in the classroom. Learning Media and Technology.
  • Kelly, L. (2013). The Connected Museum in the World of Social Media. In Drotner, K. and Schroder, K. (Eds) Museum Communication and Social Media: The connected museum (pp. 54-71). Routledge: London.

The man who lived underwater

What do you say to someone who has lived underwater?

Or has propelled himself through the Greek islands in a human-powered submarine, visited Antarctica and even holds a Guinness World Record for the most electricity generated by pedalling underwater?

Strangely enough meeting underwater pioneer Lloyd Godson led to one of the most interesting and fascinating conversations of my life.

Lloyd Godson

Image courtesy Lloyd Godson

Lloyd Godson

Image courtesy Lloyd Godson

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School Performances at the Museum

Each year the Museum plays host to a variety of school bands, showcasing their talent and musicality through well known songs, from past and present. Over the last couple of weeks we have been fortunate enough to have some talented students come along and take to the stage on our Performance Platform, The Cashmere High School from New Zealand and the Pulteney Grammar School from South Australia.

Touring the east coast of Australia with a mixture of bands, The Cashmere School have their concert band, stage band, choir and orchestra in tow, showcasing varied songs to engage the crowds. Even though the sky was scattered with intermittent cloud it didn’t dampen the talent displayed by these students.

Years 10 to 12 from Pulteney Grammar School from South Australia, showcased their abilities, drumming and singing up a storm through their choir, percussionists and stage band against the spectacular backdrop of our submarine, HMAS Onslow. Despite the ominous clouds overhead and swirling winds casting their music sheets to the entertainment gods, the students and teachers performed a myriad of songs that the crowd enjoyed. Even though the gathering storm shortened the performance, we all still appreciated and enjoyed the day. Continue reading

Inspiring Stories: NASA Administrator Bolden coming to ANMM!

Administrator Charles F Bolden Jr, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Photo: NASA, Bill Ingalls

Administrator Charles F Bolden Jr, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Photo: NASA, Bill Ingalls

Next Monday 24 March, the museum will host a talk from the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration – Charles F Bolden Jr. Yep, you read correctly, that’s NASA we’re talking about! My answer was “wow”, immediately thinking of the potential this event has to excite and inspire. “When” was my next question? How long do I have to plan and organise a major event? “Two weeks”…“Ok can do, this opportunity is too good to miss!”

So why is Administrator Bolden coming to the museum? He is interested in viewing our HMB Endeavour replica. There is a wooden trunnel located in the great cabin that was on the original HMB Endeavour and then flew on the NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour, (you learn something new every day). There are natural links between the 18th century explorers and the more recent missions out to space, sometimes in more ways than we realise. Continue reading

My Special Place – School students meet Saltwater Visions

One of the education programs for primary and junior high school students at the Australian National Maritime Museum is called ‘My Special Place’. This Visual Arts program focuses on the artist’s use of cultural and personal symbols to communicate a sense of place.

Students with teacher guide in gallery with Indigenous barks and artworks

Students in the museum’s Eora gallery during the My special place schools program

While the Saltwater Visions NAIDOC week display of ten bark paintings from the museum’s Saltwater Collection is on display in the Tasman Light Gallery, the museum’s teacher guides take groups of students and begin their session by sitting them down in front of the barks. Continue reading

An epic Antarctic inspiration

I have always been an avid reader, the type of kid that disappeared at Christmas to read the books left by Santa or being told turn off the light and sneaking a torch under the covers just to read just a little bit more.

Photo of

Tim Jarvis (middle) at the museum with our director Kevin Sumpton (L) and Michael Harvey, head Audience, Outreach and Exhibitions (R).

As I have gotten older my love of a good story hasn’t waned, just adjusted to my busier life so it takes an extraordinary tale to keep me turning the pages late into the night. It really doesn’t surprise anyone who knows me that I work in a museum surrounded by thousands of stories.

One adventure that has recently kept me up to the wee small hours is Shackleton’s boat journey written by a New Zealand ship’s captain FA Worsley, originally published in 1940. The most incredible thing about this book was that it was a factual account of the Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to Antarctica, and the journey undertaken to save the lives of his men after the ship Endurance became stuck and crushed in the ice in the Wendell Sea on his way to Antarctica.

If I had been given the narrative without knowing a little of the background, I would have thought it was an amazing story full of heroism, determination and leadership. However, as part of my research the book provided a compelling and valuable insight as to conditions the men endured. Written today, editors would have labelled it not believable and a work of fantasy, nobody could survive in the conditions they endured (certainly not me, give me a tropical island any day). But of course, just to prove my thinking wrong, Australian environmental scientist and adventurer Tim Jarvis and his team have just recreated the sea and land crossing Shackleton undertook in his traditional gear.

I came across the Ernest Shackleton expedition and polar explorers late last year when I was asked to write some educational resources to support Tim’s re-creation of  Shackleton’s expedition. You could say that was a fascinating process for me to explore the history of the original expedition, collaborate with Tim’s Shackleton Epic team and to have access to some of their amazing images of Antarctica. (Antarctica is now moving up on my list of places to travel to one day if I can just get around the, it’s freezing issue).

I’m conscious of not spoiling the whole story to those uninitiated with the tale and to always leave your audience wanting more, I will finish here with a link to Shackleton Epic webpage. For teachers interested in the education resources they can be found on the museum’s teacher resources webpage.

Anne
Education officer