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On the road again: Reaching out to isolated school communities

Author(s): Karl van Dyke

Journal: University Museums and Collections Journal
ISSN 2071-7229

Volume: 2;
Start page: 55;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: ancient history | education program | traveling show

Country New South Wales is very isolated from the urban environment of Sydney. As such, country schools find it difficult to access ancient museum material to support the teaching of the school curriculum in ancient history. With the financial burdens of distance, along with severe drought, many schools cannot make the journey to Sydney to see the archaeological material held in the Museum of Ancient Cultures at Macquarie University, one of only a handful of such museums in Australia. Consequently we have developed a ‘traveling road show’, which takes our education programs to them. In this way we also fulfill our strategic obligations to our parent university in the core area of community outreach. In return the university benefits from the on-going goodwill of teachers, students, their families and the local communities. It is through such networks and the loyalty our programs foster, that we help the university attract students to Macquarie. This paper looks at the approaches we take to support disadvantaged rural communities. It also suggests that this traveling program may serve as a model for other university museums in similar geographical circumstances to follow, as they also seek to reach out to wider audiences and increase interest in, and access to, their unique collections.
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