There are two floors to the Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery, offering so much to see that each floor is worthy of a visit in its own right.
We ask that you choose a particular learning focus for your students' visit to either the Ground Floor or Level 1. This will ensure equitable use of the spaces by school groups and help make return visits more beneficial.
Choose from the Article Index (right) to investigate innovative technologies developed by Aboriginal people in their quest for food and water while living in diverse environments across South and Central Australia.
Useful online resources;
Speaking Land. This is also available on computers in the gallery.
Ngurunderi: An Aboriginal Dreaming
The downloads below provide information about the collections. They are also useful as a pre-visit reading exercise.
In your school
Schools can borrow a Discovery Case of Aboriginal technology.
Kindergarten Visitors: Pre-school
Download a booklet that students can use to draw pictures of their visit::
Traditional Lifestyles: Years 1–3
In this program students' learning is focussed on traditional Aboriginal lifestyles and how technologies were used to solve problems encountered in everyday life. Choose a set of inquiry cards for students to either make a written record of their discoveries or to guide a verbal response facilitated by an adult group leader.
Aboriginal Art and Play: Years 1–3
Children from all cultures around the world can have fun and learn by playing games.
We have three programs from which Early Years teachers can choose. In these programs students learn about the valuable skills gained by Aboriginal children and adults when playing with traditional toys and games. They also develop an appreciation and understanding of the different styles and forms of Aboriginal art from different regions and the relationship between Dreaming stories, ceremonies and the environment.
The A5 booklet or A4 activity sheets encourage students to write down their discoveries. The Inquiry cards work with an adult group leader who guides students verbally.
Toys (Print and fold these sheets into a booklet for students.)
Colliding Worlds: Years 4–5
Year 4 and 5 Australian curriculum: history
Colliding Worlds is a program linked to the Australian Curriulum:history.
Students can choose to be an explorer, anthropologist, missionary, archaeologist or an artist. The A5 booklet (below) can be downloaded and used to guide students learning and engagement with the displays. Students are encouraged to work collaboratively in small groups with parent helpers.
Year 4 students wiil examine the impact of exploration on other societies, how these societies interacted with newcomers, and how these experiences contributed to their cultural diversity; while year 5 students will learn about what life was like for different groups of people in the colonial period (e.g. Aboriginal people, Muslim cameleers, European settlers).
Traditional Aboriginal Lifestyles: Years 3–6
Students investigate traditional Aboriginal lifestyles and use the activity sheets to record their discoveries while working in pairs or small groups.
Art and Design: Years 3–6
In this program students develop an understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal art and the Dreaming as well as the traditional designs and technologies used to make art, basketry, string, shields, boomerangs, ceremonial masks and ornaments. They can use the activity sheets to guide their learning about the challenges faced by Aboriginal people living in different regions across northern Australia.
Time and Change: Years 6–9
Students compare and contrast the traditional lifestyles of Aboriginal people who have lived in different environments across South and Central Australia for at least 50 000 years. Students also develop an understanding and appreciation of the issues facing Aboriginal people today, such as the maintenance of Aboriginal languages, culture and identity.
Aboriginal Art and Innovation: Years 6–9
These inquiry cards guide student investigation of the traditional design technologies, art and Dreaming stories belonging to Aboriginal people from central and northern Australia. They develop an appreciation and understanding of the issues facing Aboriginal people today; the importance of innovation in contemporary Aboriginal art and design; the maintenance of Aboriginal languages; Aboriginal culture and identity now and in the future.
The Collectors: Years 10–12
The collectors who have built the collections of the South Australian museum over the past 150 or so years have created an important resource. This program invites students to investigate the way the collections have been created. The program involves both the ground and first floor galleries.
Indigenous Youth Program
A highly successful and innovative program for Indigenous students in Years 10 – 12 has been running at the South Australian Museum since 2005 and will be available again in 2011. The program offers culturally appropriate, structured work-place learning opportunities for Aboriginal students undertaking SACE courses.
Students will have the opportunity to:
- work in collaboration with DECD education officers and the museum's Indigenous staff;
- develop their knowledge, skills and confidence in working with school groups visiting the Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery and upon completion of the program, present hands-on artefact activities to visiting school groups in the gallery;
- visit the museum archives, meet the Indigenous staff and investigate how the Aboriginal Family History program is being used by Aboriginal communities today;
- undertake a special investigation into an area of the museum that interests them with a particular focus on careers, or develop a tour and present their findings to the whole group;
- visit the museum store and investigate how the Ara Irititja Project utilises new technologies to assist Anangu Pitjantjatjara and Yunkuntjatjara communities to collect and document their history and make it accessible for their families;
- explore the museum's Indigenous collections with Tara Dodd, Indigenous Collection Manager and discover how Indigenous communities use the collections;
- record their learning experiences using video cameras.
Feedback and evaluation of the students' participation and achievements throughout the program will be negotiated with students, teachers and museum staff. Students and museum education staff will complete evaluation forms and each student will receive a museum certificate upon completion of the program. Students negotiate with their teachers for the program outcomes to be included as a component of SACE Stage 1 or 2 Community Studies or Aboriginal Studies.
The program in 2012 will occur during terms 1, 2 and 3 on consecutive Wednesdays in four week blocks.
Term 1 Weeks 3 – 6, Starting: 13 February
Term 2 Weeks 3 – 6, Starting: 7 May
Term 3 Weeks 3 – 6, Starting: 1 August