With gloved hands, the students of Cape Clear Primary School looked in to the past as they handled artefacts from Melbourne’s Immigration Museum.
But a surprising highlight for most was a typewriter, which for many adults seems far from being a historic relic.
The typewriter was part of the museum’s Sharing Stories program, a hands-on workshop investigating stories of people who have come to Australia as migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
Many of those stories were written on typewriters as letters to family and friends still overseas, or made in to books and stories.
“We bring museum objects to the session and students can actually have a go at putting gloves on and handling the objects,” said Museum Victoria outreach officer Alex Page.
“We look at different stories from different eras and different communication types … trying to reinforce the idea that everyone in Australia, apart from Aboriginals, has a story of immigration in their own life,” she said.
Principal Lachlan Day said grade three to six students were studying the First Fleet and immigration and discussing the stories of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.
“They spent the afternoon looking at artefacts, trying to work out who people were, why they came to Australia and what was the purpose of them coming to Australia … which links in to problem solving activities, history and humanities studies,” he said.
Mr Day said these types of incursions were a huge benefit to schools and students in more regional and remote areas.
“Any incursion that any country school can receive is hugely beneficial to children’s learning … and this program is a resource that hasn’t been available to us previously.”
Ms Page said Cape Clear was the first school in Victoria to receive a visit from the outreach program’s third van, which was purchased and adapted as a result of a philanthropic fundraising campaign over summer.