Wonder Box: Nature outreach in South Island schools

Melanie Dash, one of our audience engagement team, travelled to the South Island to work with schools on our Wonder Box project. Students get the chance to have their work displayed at Te Papa. Find out what Melanie and the students got up to…

14 May 2013 – You’re the curator!

It’s a been a busy two days here in Blenheim so far.  Year 5 and 6 children from Witherlea and Springlands Schools have been learning about their national museum and what it’s like to put an exhibition together.  Previous to me visiting this week they have all been busy starting a collection of their own of wonders from the natural world. 

The first day saw us take a virtual tour of the museum and they even got a sneaky peak at some of our natural environment collection.  Today they took on the role of a museum conservator, curator and exhibition designer as they planned their own mini ‘Wonder Box’ exhibition using pieces from their collection.

Over the rest of the week our new museum recruits will be telling the stories behind their collections and presenting them to family and friends before ten from each school get chosen to go on display at Te Papa.

15 May 2013 – Telling your story

What makes a good story?  Children from Springlands and Witherlea Schools got to write a label to accompany their wonder box today.  It told the story of their collection, where it was found and why it was special to them.  Each story is unique to them and helps our museum audience better understand the exhibits on display.  This was the last time I would be working with them before they presented their boxes on Friday.  Just one more day to go make their boxes museum ready.  Exciting!!

Students making their Wonder Boxes. Photographer: Melanie Dash © Te Papa

Students making their Wonder Boxes. Photographer: Melanie Dash © Te Papa

16 May 2013 – Which boxes are coming to Te Papa?

Check out my drive to work today…

Mel's drive to work. Photographer: Melanie Dash © Te Papa

Mel’s drive to work. Photographer: Melanie Dash © Te Papa

Went to LinkwaterSchool in the Marlborough Sounds this morning to meet the children who have been following a self-guided version of the Wonder Box project.  I was bowled over by the standard of their Wonder Boxe. After they were each presented to the rest of the school and some of their parents we were all faced with the difficult job of voting for the two boxes that would come back with me to Te Papa.  It was such a difficult decision we ended up choosing three.   Ka pai to Jack, Mika and James.

Linkwater School students enjoying a well deserved morning kai to celebrate finishing their wonder boxes. Photographer: Melanie Dash © Te Papa

Linkwater School students enjoying a well deserved morning kai to celebrate finishing their wonder boxes. Photographer: Melanie Dash © Te Papa

In Springlands and WitherleaSchools tomorrow.  Good luck everyone.

17 May 2013 – A celebration

It was the final day of the Wonder Box programme and time for pupils at Springlands and Witherlea Schools to present their exhibitions to the rest of the school.

Georgina shows off her work. Photographer: Melanie Dash © Te Papa

Georgina shows off her work. Photographer: Melanie Dash © Te Papa

Each, like Georgina, carefully told the story of their collection. It was then time to celebrate all that had been achieved during the week with some morning and afternoon kai, during which the children and their teachers got to vote for their favourite three wonder boxes. Only ten could be chosen from each school to take back to Te Papa so it was important to think carefully about why those boxes deserved to go.

The votes were then counted and the winners announced. Congratulations and thank you to all the schools that took part and watch this space for the new Wonder Box exhibition coming to NatureSpace Discovery Centre this June!

3 Responses

  1. Deborah Gooding

    Hi I am a teacher in the UK . I saw some of the exhibits when I visited your wonderful museum in November. Ever since I have thought what a lovely thing it would be to replicate in my school.
    Firstly, would that be ok?
    Secondly are there any tips available if I wanted to have a go?
    Many thanks

    Reply
    • tepapamuseum

      Kia ora Deborah,

      Thanks for your comment, we’re really pleased that you enjoyed your trip to Te Papa and NZ. Also, thanks for your interest in WonderBox – it is a great project! Melanie, who runs the WonderBox project, is currently on leave. I’ve asked her to get in touch with you when she returns. In the meantime, there are several museums (e.g. SS Great Britain, Hull Museum) in the UK that offer a Museum in a Box programme that may be of interest.

      I hope that helps for now and Melanie will be in touch soon.

    • Melanie Dash

      Kia ora Deborah,

      Thank you so much for your enquiry.

      We would love for you to run the wonder box programme in your school. It would be great to follow your progress with it too. I have developed some lesson plans for the programme and some resources which I would be happy to make available to you. I recommend that you also contact your local museum to see if they would like to get involved too.

      Please email me on melanied@tepapa.govt.nz. Good luck!

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