Te Awamutu Museum’s government education contract has been renewed for a further three years.
“The idea is that it will enrich multi-curriculum education for our local schools,” said education facilitator Kerrin Carr.
The museum has held the contestable government contract for 25 years, it provides the funds needed to enhance programmes offered to schools.
Museum director Anne Blyth said all their programmes have a Waipā connection, with a particular focus on the New Zealand Land Wars, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and wearable art.
“We do offer a set range of programmes but can also work alongside the schools to create something specific if needed, it depends on what their focus is.” said Blyth.
From 2023 schools must teach New Zealand history in a greater depth as part of the government’s new curriculum called Te Takanga o Te Wā.
Carr said many local schools are already teaching New Zealand’s history, and are using the museum to do so.
He and Blyth agreed that with respect to the land wars, what happened can vary depending on the perspective that it is taught from. To get around this, the museum teaches the history from a broad range of perspectives.
“We don’t know what exact version of events happened. We try and represent a variety of different viewpoints and then it is up to the students to decide,” Blyth said.
“We will tell as many stories as possible from what we have, from multiple perspectives. I am quite blatant in saying ‘this isn’t my story, but this is what was shared with me,’” said Carr.
With the renewal of their contract, the museum has also begun teaching preschool aged children for the first time
“It is a very gentle introduction to the museum,” said Blyth.
She said their introduction to the museum could be as simple as “a look around and getting them familiar with the museum environment” to reading stories, using puppets, crafts, and handling objects.
“It is the idea of making museums accessible for younger learners, to ensure that this space is relevant to them, and they feel welcome,” said Carr.