AudiencePrimary school, Secondary school, Teachers
Learning stageStage 3, Stage 4, Stage 5
Learning areaCreative Arts, English, History, Pasifika, Science, Technology
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Inspire your students to review an exhibition using note-taking, writing, photographs, or filmmaking! This type of self-directed learning experience fosters creative and collaborative skills giving students the opportunity to share ideas and opinions, and make decisions for their review. Sharing their end 'product' is empowering and filmmaking is an ideal way to engage students that might not normally be as involved or interested in Key Learning Areas, specifically Science and History at the Australian Museum. Additionally, researching for an exhibition review ignites a new interest in Museums, a deeper understanding of the expertise that go into the development and creation of an exhibition, and are an opportunity for students to share their own viewpoints.
An exhibition in a museum normally tells a story through objects, specimens, models, sounds, text, digital platforms, art, pictures and/or archival sources.
The Australian Museum showcases a variety of innovative exhibitions about First Nations cultures and histories, climate change, treasures from our collections, dinosaurs and more! You can find out what is currently showing here.
The Museum has been developing exhibitions for over 150 years. The first was in 1854 and was an exhibition of NSW products. See the exhibition timeline here.
There is a huge amount to consider when developing an exhibition including the 'big idea,' audiences, interpretation, text and design. Find out more here.
Following a competition, this exhibition film review was created by students from Elderslie High School. Through a process of researching an exhibition and creating a review students are likely to find out some of the following:
- Interesting facts about the history of the Australian Museum and its renovations.
- The expertise and sometimes quirky stories involved in the creation of an exhibition.
- Through this review specifically, that science related specimens and facts found in Wild Planet are much more interesting than previously anticipated.
- That their research skills, creative decisions and opinions matter.
- That their own storytelling and/or filmmaking skills are of high quality.
- Visit the Australian Museum to scope out the exhibition you feel would best fit in with your teaching topic and engage your students.
- Discuss the purpose of an exhibition in a museum with a students.
- Explore the types of professions involved in curating an exhibition.
- Focus in on the exhibition you would like your students to review. Ask them to research three main displays, stories, objects or specimens.
You can explore some of our exhibitions online here.
- If you are planning for your students to make a film review and you are a NSW government school, engage your students in this video-making course.
- Have a look at the resources relating to the background and creation of Wild Planet to further gain un understanding of exhibition projects and development.
- Organise and book a visit to the Australian Museum.
- Tips for your film review:
-Less is more. Try to focus on three main points in your review.
-Humour is great.
-Speak clearly and concisely.
-Look at the camera when talking unless you are interviewing someone.
Key teams and staff involved in the creation of a natural history exhibition like Wild Planet.
- An Exhibition Project Manager is like a curator and helps pull the exhibition together including the story, specimens or objects, labels and research.
- Preparation staff install cabinets and create displays or exhibition features which help bring the exhibition to life. You can watch a video about this here.
- Material Conservation staff help prepare, clean, fix and conserve specimens and objects. You can read about one of the material conservation teams' work done on Wild Planet here.
- Scientists’ research and expertise help inform exhibition content.
- Collection managers look after the Museum’s collections and loan them out to researchers, and supply them for exhibitions. Find out more about our mammal collections here.
- Taxidermists stuff and prepare animals, ensuring they are ready for display. Find out more about taxidermy here.
- The design team (2D and 3D designers) design signs, wall murals, the exhibition layout and more.
Do some research before attending the exhibition and Museum.
- What is the Australian Museum? Why was it established?
- What is the Wild Planet exhibition about?
- What does provenance mean and why is it important?
Walk through the entire exhibition before making notes for your review.
- Do you have a favourite animal or specimen? Tell us some fascinating facts about that particular species?
- (When conducting interviews, it is important to highlight why you are in the museum/ exhibition and what new facts you have found out about this gallery?)
Think of a description of the whole exhibition.
- Who is the exhibition for / who would like it?
- Are the animals real?
- Why do you think the animals are displayed the way they are? Why do Museums collect animals like this for display? How did the animals get here?
- Did you learn or experience something new?
- What would you add or change to the exhibition?
If there is the opportunity, interview a curator, conservationist or scientist. Think of some key questions you would like to ask these staff members prior to the interview. Examples:
- What is your job at the Museum?
- What did you study?
- What is your role in relation to exhibitions?
- Do you have a favourite display or animal?
- What were some of the challenges in your role?
- Why do you think the exhibition is important?