The aptly named ‘Night At the Museum’ showcased student learning around the theme of local history with families viewing firsthand the practical and research based projects students had been working on throughout the term.
To accommodate the projects the museum’s meeting room was transformed into an exhibition gallery with Kindy through Year 9 classes work mounted around the room.
Centre stage was an ambitious model of Maitland constructed by the Year 6 class complete with scannable Internet links to historic information researched by the Year 8 class. This was supplemented by the Year 4 class’s old and new photos of the town and the Year 5 student’s research at the Maitland Cemetery.
The Kindy students project focused on the stump-jump plough while the Year 1 students had interviewed grandparents and written their own history book. Several classes worked with the museum itself, with the Year 3 students creating museum scavenger hunts and Year 5 students working on the restoration of the museum gate.
Year 7 students researched how popular pastimes and activities had changed and the Year 9 class showcased their award winning Premier’s ANZAC Spirit Prize essays and research.
Elsewhere in the museum the Year 1’s had set up a photo booth and using their photography skills had a brisk evening charging a gold coin donation for professional portraits.
The official opening of the evening was held at 7pm with the school’s Senior Vocal Ensemble under conductor Debbie Schwartz leading the singing of the school hymn in the old school grounds. This was followed by the song ‘Another Page of History’ which emphasised the historic contributions made by ‘everyday’ people and was accompanied by a huge montage of local historic photos projected onto the wall of the museum.
A sausage sizzle run by the school, tea and coffee provided by the National Trust Committee and slice and cakes made by the Home Economics students all raised additional funds for the museum which also received a $500 donation from the school.
The unique evening was well received with older visitors reminiscing about past school-days and many expressing surprise at the expansive museum collections.
Museum staff were very happy with the evening, posting on social media to say “Thank you so much for an amazing evening and all the hard work done by the students to make the evening such a huge success.”
Thank you to all the teaching staff at the school who worked with the students on the many projects. Thank you to Groundsman Trevor Allen for transporting students up and back to the museum over the past term. Thanks as well to conductor Debbie Schwartz and the school vocal group for your part in the opening.
Finally, thank you to the museum’s National Trust committee for their support and help in staging the event.