Paper masks

The oriental origin of paper

The history of paper.

Often it is the simple things that we take for granted that make all of the difference to history, and one of them is paper. How many sheets containing written information are on your desk, in your house or even in your bag?  Then there is all of the other uses we put paper to in our lives, cleaning, ticketing, containing, wrapping; the list (on paper of course) is nearly endless.  It is one of the inventions that made its way from China to the West via the amazing conduit of ideas, ideal and objects:  The Silk Road.

In the ancient and medieval world the paperless office was a real thing. Papyrus, as used by the ancient Egyptians, was nearly paper…sort of! The big problem with papyrus is that it is fragile, and the older it gets the more fragile it becomes, making it unsuited for long term storage of writings, which is presumably why it never replaced parchment in Europe. Other cultures used strips of bamboo or timber (China, India), bark (Russia and Meso-America) …

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Viking Fun at the Abbey

Did you meet the Viking?

Did you catch up with the Viking horde during the school holidays?

This year the Abbey Museum hosted its Kids Dig It – Viking Family Fun Week for the January School holiday program.  It was an extremely successful and engaging week of fun and activity in and around the Museum. Over 502 visitors enjoyed a full program which included meeting Norm the Viking and hearing all about his tools and viking equipment and also having a photo with him. There were many craft activities such as making a longboat, helmet, shield, mask, naal binding, lucet weaving, viking embroidery and using the viking iron to be enjoyed.

Viking Games afoot

One of the popular activities was dressing up in viking clothes or playing a viking board game called Hnefatafl (try getting your tongue around that one) which is also know as the “The Kings Table”. Another game enjoyed by parents and kids was the lawn chess-type game called Kubb.

 

Of course – the most popular of all activities was the archery and the archaeological dig.

 

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Young Woman with a Stylus

Wax Tablets Roman Style

Wax Tablets….. the Roman Way!

What was your favourite excuse for not handing in your homework? Did the dog ever eat it?  Perhaps your kids have come up with some creative reasons as to why assignments were overdue! I seem to recall ‘the wind blew it away’ or ‘a glass of juice spilled on it’.  We have all heard a few good ones but in ancient Rome,  students had an even better excuse! Their homework had melted by the sun! (Sometimes assisted by holding their wax tablets close to their body).  Now that’s a good one!

Wax tablets and stylus was the means of writing at that time. Paper did not become readily and cheaply available in Europe until the Middle Ages. So, it was necessary to have an effective means for keeping lists, general correspondence and legal documents.  The wax tablet was used as the everyday notebook for thousands of years, although there is increasing evidence that ink was used on thin sheets of wood also.  A number of these have been found at Vindolanda, a Roman Army …

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Teaching the Value of Archaeology

To many people archaeology embodies adventure, excitement, very old things and, of course, thanks to the Indiana Jones franchise, unfortunately Nazis. The image of Indiana Jones, Hollywood’s archetypal archaeologist, has been burned into the minds of the “baby boomer” generation. These days, finding anyone under the age of 20 who has seen these films is an adventure in itself. Archaeology is so much more than “digging up old stuff” and putting it into a museum; it plays an important role in society, more than most people realise. Instilling that idea into a student’s mind is a definite challenge.

Curiosity plays an important role in the public perception of archaeology and history. Why are people so fascinated by King Tut and the Pyramids? It has to be more than, “they look pretty cool” right? Well, that’s because it is. Human beings have a natural desire to know more about where they have come from, especially if it relates to themselves. There is no doubt that there is economic value associated with archaeology as well. Museums all over the world are …

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Kids in Medieval times

Kids in Medieval times

While many kids in medieval times did not have the perceived privileges that are accessible to today’s kids, children in the medieval time period and children now have a lot in common.  As we know, due to a harsh, unforgiving environment a great number of children did not survive in the middle ages, however, the majority of children did go on to lead full lives and were regarded as a central part of their families right from birth, just as kids are today.

Work and Play

Though children were not expected to ‘work’ day after day, as is a common misconception, they were expected to contribute to some of the household duties, even from before adolescence. This type of ‘work’ is also common for many children today! Naturally, the poorer the family, the more essential it was for children to contribute to the workload. Children in the Middle Ages were usually expected to do things such as tending livestock or farm animals, working with crops or growing vegetables, …

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excavating a Viking horn at the Abbey Museums School Holiday Family Fun week

Kids Dig It – Viking School Holiday Family Fun

Even the occasional shower of rain cannot douse the enthusiasm of the many young people who have been visiting the Abbey Museum over the last few days to participate in our Viking School Holiday Family Fun program. The rain is falling gently from the skies, but still the kids are lining up sword and shield in hand waiting eagerly for instructions and more importantly, the whistle that tells them it is time to do battle. The high pitched whistle pierces the grey skies and heralds the drumming sound of sword on shield as these junior Viking warriors advance across the grounds to face yet another group of eager warriors. The Viking warrior training is without doubt one of the most popular activities being offered during the Viking School Holiday Family Fun program at the Abbey Museum.

Archery – a popular Viking School Holiday Activity

Right up there with the Warrior training is the ever popular archery. In the past …

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School Holiday Fun Viking Style! Write your name in runes

School Holiday fun at the Abbey Museum

School Holiday Fun at the Abbey Museum has never been so POPULAR!

At the end of our first week of Viking school holiday fun – we have already seen over 600 people through the doors! Vikings everywhere, families having so much fun. We have one more week to go and have made some additions to the program based on the popularity of Viking School Holiday Fun (we may or may not believe this is a result of parents hoping to catch a glimpse of Ragnar of Lagertha, you may need to wait until next month when that hit TV series returns to TV!!!!!)

Our wonderful staff have now added tea, coffee and cake to the menu for those hungry vikings and carers of the little vikings! We also have PLENTY of shields that you can purchase for an extra $4, painting these are a highlight for the kids. Archery and Viking Warrior training scheduling is subject to the weather.

We would Love you to post photos of your little ones having …

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Junior Archaeologists Club

Hands-on Fun for Junior Archaeologists!

Junior Archaeologists celebrate as the Abbey Museum’s Junior Archaeologist Club (JAC) is two years old this term.

All Junior Archaeologists agree, time flies when you’re having fun! Here is a bit of an update on what we have been doing lately! Each term we look at a different theme or culture relating to the displays in the Abbey Museum. This year our Junior Archaeologists have explored Vikings, Egyptians, Romans and this term, it’s all about Archaeology.

At Junior Archaeologists club we like to get hands-on!

Week 1 saw our Junior Archaeologists exploring the Museum, discussing tools an archaeologist might use and what they might discover. We excavated a mini archaeological dig, and even played a game with a prehistoric American theme! In Week 2, we investigated the diet of prehistoric Americans (whilst examining coprolites), Vikings and Ancient Romans! We discussed how useful wheat is and even tried crushing it into flour. We planted our own wheat seeds, and although they have been stricken by …

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Kids Dig it at the Abbey Museum in the School Holidays www.abbeymuseum.com.au

Kids Dig the Abbey Museum in school holidays

School holidays at the Abbey Museum are always fun. The whole place comes alive with the sounds of excited young children digging up the past and exploring history. This September our young visitors have become archaeologist and excavated a mini dig site filled with treasures from ancient Egypt. They have uncovered canopic jars that once held internal organs, little shabti statuettes, plates decorated with lotus blossom and amulets. The more active have enjoyed the ever popular archery and for the investigative types there is archaeology in the lab where they have been identifying coins, dissecting coprolites and reconstituting pottery shards to identify the original urn or jar.

 

In the Museum dressing up as an ancient Egyptian or Roman provides parents with great photo opportunities. There are games, arts and craft activates including making a Greek drama masks, and mythological characters such as Medusa, Poseidon and Apollo. The figure of Venus is by far the most popular.

 

It is great to get positive feedback from the parents that the Museum is …

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The number 1 way to deliver new history curriculum outcomes

Visit the Abbey Museum for our Indigenous, first contact, medieval, and ancient civiliations education programs, all designed to meet the criteria of the new national curriculum.

We have so many schools come to experience our fantastic education programs, and our Archaeological Digs are all time favourites.

We bet you didn’t realise that students as young as 5, in Prep can also experience the thrill of digging up Ancient Egypt?

Recently some students from St.Michael’s College visited the  Museum to participate in a specially designed hands on experience, they excavated, they learned about mummification (very much enjoying wrapping up a classmate), they dressed up in authentic Egyptian dress and had their faces painted.

Our education programs are specially designed to be fun whilst at the same time teaching historical knowledge and understanding, and historical skills.

We hope you enjoy watching the delight on the faces of the little ones as they carefully excavate replica objects from the dig, the team work is priceless and the commitment to the process …

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