Make your own museum

It's important for our young people to know their local community stories so these stories can continue to be told to future generations. This activity encourages children, young people, and their family to explore their own local history and heritage.

Teaching concepts

  • Topics: Identity, culture, place and environment.
  • Concepts: Whakapapa, whanaungatanga, tūrangawaewae.

Local stories, local history, a sense of community

Every community has its own stories to tell. Local history is particularly important because it can create a sense of community. It can also create a sense of respect for those who have gone before, and an understanding of how the community has developed over time.

The purpose of this activity is to help parents and whānau think about ways to bring local histories closer to children and young people, by learning about artefacts in the settings they may have originally been used. Within every community, there will be artefacts and buildings that tell stories of how things used to be.

The activity also creates an opportunity to share stories that aren’t necessarily written down anywhere.

Colour photograph of a child holding a photo album open showing pages of black and white family photographs.

Image credit: Photo by Laura Fuhrman. Unsplash. License to use.

Bring the past to life

Exhibits, presentations, and talks about history can help bring the past to life. They can help people develop a deeper understanding of the circumstances and concepts surrounding particular events. They can also help them to imagine what it was like to live in a certain time period and develop empathy for others.

To make history more exciting, you could consider holding a special event — exploring the past in unique ways can help different perspectives and stories come to life. This could be about an old factory, homestead, shearing shed, marae, library, church — or any other building that has local significance. Or organise a walk to different places of historical significance — walking in the footsteps of ancestors provides a more personal experience of a place's history.

Suggested activity

  • Discuss what 'local history' is, and what you could explore more — this might include people, places, events, or taonga/heirlooms.
  • Investigate where you might find out more information about the history of your local community. For example, visit a local museum or marae, organise a talk by a historian, or talk to older generations within the community. You could also check if there are organisations in your local community that hold special events for children, including night-time experiences.
  • Create your own 'local history' event. This could be for your own family or whānau, in your own home or marae. Or you could also talk to people in your community about whether you could help to set up an event within the community. This could be at a museum or observatory, or at a historical building, such as an old homestead, factory, or barn.
  • Record the stories that are shared during the event. Children could create artwork based on what they have seen or heard. Young people might like to write up their response to what they have found out about.
  • Share your stories with others. Share with your classmates, invite your friends and whānau to come along to your event, or hold a separate show-and-tell evening.