Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Regional students ‘set sail’

Photo supplied by CSIRO.

Australian National Maritime Museum, Museum receives Catalyst grant to share HMB Endeavour replica with students in regional Australia, EducationHQ Australia, 11 May 2016

Students in remote and regional Australia can now experience what life would have been like for James Cook and his crew on board HMB Endeavour thanks to the funding of virtual excursions to the Australian National Maritime Museum.

The Australian Government has provided the museum with $230,000 to conduct 900 classes for 32,000 students across Australia in 2016 and 2017. The classes for primary and secondary students address the curriculum priorities of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The technology for the virtual excursions on the ship was developed by CSIRO in conjunction with the museum and with funding from the Department of Communications and the Arts.  Panoramic cameras installed throughout the ship allow students to take a live tour and control what they see, zooming in to explore the specimens that Banks collected or learning about pulley systems. A museum educator uses a tablet to guide students around the ship and responds to student’s questions.

Museum director and CEO, Kevin Sumption is delighted that the Australian Government has prioritised the funding of this project.  “As a national institution our mandate is to share Australia’s maritime history with people across the country. This may well be one of the most important projects the museum has ever undertaken because it gives children in remote and regional Australia the opportunity to engage with one of Australia’s most important maritime stories.”

“Education is one of the museum’s core priorities. Young people today are growing up in a different and exciting world and this kind of technology helps us to connect students with our maritime history in an innovative, compelling and accessible way.”

The program was piloted in 2015. Feedback from Year 10 students who participated in the virtual lessons was incredibly positive. Enthusiastic comments included:

“It was an amazing experience really. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

“It was like actually being on a ship.”

The Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney is the national centre for maritime collections, exhibitions, research and archaeology. As a Commonwealth cultural institution the museum is committed to fulfilling its national mandate by developing programs and opportunities to share its expertise, collection and the national maritime story with regional communities throughout Australia.

Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2021
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