Te Awamutu Museum has been taking a creative approach to heritage education and exhibitions over the last few months! One of our temporary spaces, the Front Porch, is designated to be a community space and we were starting to run short on ideas to display on it. It is a crucial space as we want the community to recognise the whole museum as their own, especially this space. It is also the first exhibition space you see when you enter the building.
Our educator, Tereora Crane, mooted the idea that schools be given the opportunity to create their own exhibitions for this space, using an education programme as the basis for the topic.
This idea has taken off and we have had two local primary schools create exhibitions for this space. The first, Kihikihi School, created an exhibition about their learnings on the topic of the 28th Maori Battalion. They created three text panels, plus a video. The two classes and their families were invited to an opening event at the Museum, which was attended by 85 of the local community, including the local Mayor and representatives from the RSA.
The second school is Paterangi School, whose topic is Legendary Explorers. They learnt about different explorers and navigators and how their families have come to be in the Waipa district. They also have three text panels, (two with interactivity!) and a slideshow. Their opening event was also well attended by the school community and the Mayor assisted the children to officially open their exhibition.
The Museum team are excited by the success of these two programmes and hope to continue to have schools taking the opportunity to present their own exhibition, with even more involvement from the students in content, design, objects and marketing.