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Convict "discovery box" tailored for school projects


Tasmania’s convict history has been packaged in a “discovery box” to give students a first-hand Port Arthur experience without having to leave the classroom.

The innovative Port Arthur Discovery Box will be available on loan to Tasmanian schools enabling them to integrate Port Arthur’s convict history into the curriculum.

Julia Clark, interpretation and collections manager for the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority, said it was the first time Tasmanian students would have access to genuine Port Arthur artefacts in their classroom.

“The Port Arthur Discovery Box consists of two travelling boxes containing a range of authentic and tactile convict artefacts, along with photos, books and published information,” Julia said.

“A teaching pack will accompany the box to guide teachers and to assist with integrating the activities into teaching plans.”

The box was developed by PAHSMA’s curatorial assistant Sarah Quine and the interpretations and collections team with valuable input from teachers and education consultants.

Julia said thPAHSMA anticipates there will be strong interest in the new learning resource from schools across the state.

“The Port Arthur Discovery Box is just one part of a renewed focus on education at Port Arthur for 2007,” she said.

“PAHSMA is also developing a ground-breaking interactive education program for middle-school students that embraces the new Tasmanian curriculum.”

The items in the discovery box - including leg irons, a clay pipe and hand-made nails - slot neatly in moulded foam for packing into the box.

Anyone handling the objects is required to wear curators' gloves, a novel idea for some children but one that was embraced eagerly on a trial run at a Hobart school.

Convict "discovery box" tailored for school projects

Julia Clark and guide training officer Alan Andrews present the box at the launch

Convict "discovery box" tailored for school projects

The packaged artefacts fit snugly in moulded foam

Convict "discovery box" tailored for school projects

Sarah Quine wears curators' gloves to handle the artefacts

Convict "discovery box" tailored for school projects

The artefacts are complemented by teaching guides a work books