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UC celebrates teacher education with Across the Years exhibition

Danielle Meddemmen

21 April 2021: The University of Canberra, in collaboration with its Australian National Museum of Education (ANME), is inviting the Canberra community to visit the Across the Years exhibition, which hallmarks the progress of Australian education.

A headline event for the ACT Heritage Festival 2021, the exhibition is a dual celebration of the University of Canberra’s 50 years of teacher education, and 25 years of the ANME.

ANME Curator and University of Canberra Collections Manager, Alex Stalker-Booth, said visitors will be met with a large collection of items showing just how far the industry has come.

“What this display does is showcase objects through time in Canberra, from the early 19th century until today,” he said.

“It reflects on where we have been, and how we got here, and the items on display are all relevant in how we educate people today.

“We can learn from this in moving forward, because if you don’t know your past, you won’t know your future.”

The ANME, founded in 1996, aims to promote the history behind Australian education through its growing collections, research and networks.

Items on display at the exhibition include primary school readers from the mid-20th century, a headmaster’s desk from the 1880’s, and slates that school kids used to work on.

The exhibition has also teamed up with the University’s Faculty of Science and Technology, which has provided interactive robots for the event to showcase the future of education.

“These robots are an interactive experiment, which will also give visitors an insight into where the education world is heading,” Mr Stalker-Booth said.

“The robots interact with the visitor in a range of different ways, including answering questions they may have on the items displayed.”

Executive Dean of Education, Barney Dalgarno, said the exhibition was imperative in recognising the volume of teachers who have trained at the University of Canberra or its predecessor, the Canberra College of Advanced Education.

“In celebrating and scrutinising the history of school education in the ACT, there are many parallels in the history of teacher education in the ACT,” he said.

“A common theme in both teacher education and school education has been the underpinning goal of empowering teachers to lead positive change, with lasting impact on the development and education of generations of children.

“We need to acknowledge the ways in which we have built upon the great things that have been accomplished, and remember the legacy of those who have gone before us.”

Visitors are invited to attend the exhibition at the Mura Gadi Gallery, Building 8, University of Canberra from Monday to Friday, 10.30am-4.30pm.

The exhibition will run until 30 April, with a following exhibition in May set to highlight children’s book illustrations and an Olympic-themed exhibition to begin in July.