Young photographers display their work in a virtual gallery

Young photographers display their work in a virtual gallery

Te Papa Senior Advisor, Museum Education Tara Fagan spends some time with young children as they get creative in virtual reality.

The Hīnātore learning lab had its youngest group of visitors recently. Ten four-year-olds, and their teachers, from Tai Tamariki Kindergarten visited the lab as part of their visual arts programme.

They were building on their knowledge of taking photos while also helping us test one of our new education programmes, which draw on our exhibitions and collections to support learning.

Children photographing Hīnātore's wall illustration
Children photographing Hīnātore’s wall illustration, 2017. Te Papa

After a brief introduction to taking photos on smart phones, each learner was equipped with a device of their own and set out to explore the treasures within the lab.

As the learners took photos, they were intentionally supported by educators to experiment with lighting, exposure, and close-ups, noting the impact of each of these on the photos they were capturing.

Lots of discussion occurred as the learners showed each other their photos, made suggestions, and went together to take photos of the same objects.

A small group decided to take photos of each other’s shoes and were getting people to guess ‘whose shoes are these?’ with laughter and discussion about footwear and friends.

A child uses a Google Cardboard virtual reality headset
A child uses a Google Cardboard virtual reality headset, 2017. Te Papa

Favourite photos were selected with the learners uploading these to the cloud, and a virtual art gallery was created.

Using Google Cardboard, the learners viewed their work on the wall of a specially-created virtual art gallery. This enabled the children to see their work displayed in a collection while also providing them with another perspective on viewing their work.

A child takes a photograph of a Kiwi
A child takes a photograph of a Kiwi, 2017. Te Papa

The use of digital technologies provides another medium for expression, and so rather than replace traditional tools such as paint, pencils, and Play-Doh, the technology complements it.

It is through this use of the technology, balanced with a rich learning environment, that the learners are developing their digital fluency skills as they collaborate, create, and are curious in new ways.

There is lots on offer in our Hīnatore programmes, so check them out and come and join us.

A selection of the children's photos.
A selection of the children’s photos, 2017. Te Papa


  1. Author

    Kia Ora Olwen, thanks and yes, we all had a wonderful time. It was interesting to see the young learners perspective on the objects they photographed as well as be part of their discussions as they talked about best angles, objects and ways to photograph.

  2. Thanks, they had a wonderful time by the looks of things.

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