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Museum Victoria online - Science

A workshop presentation by

Janet Marlow and John Stewart
Museum Victoria

The Internet enables unprecedented access to Museum Victoria resources, including collection object and image databases, Science, Social History and Indigenous Cultures research. This workshop provides an introduction to ed-online - the gateway to Museum Victoria's online education resources, and an overview of current projects. The workshop will feature several projects in more detail - Bioinformatics, Flying Colours, and The Biggest Family Album in Australia.

The Museum's databases of Victorian butterflies, snakes, lizards, frogs and mammals is combined with extensive data from the Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment in the unique Bioinformatics projects. This website is unique in Australia, and possibly the world. For the first time, schools have been provided with easy access to some of the major biological databases held by government organisations. Students are able to query thousands of records obtained from many decades of field trips to gain an awareness of data patterning and manipulation, and a detailed understanding of diverse fauna.

Flying Colours is a science experiment developed by six institutions, with schools and community groups across Victoria observing local butterflies and recording their data online. Online resources include the Land Victoria geo-spatial locator, seasonal and historic data from the Museum, and P-12 student activities from the Gould League, Melbourne Zoo, Royal Botanic Gardens, the Victorian Natural Resources and Environment department, and the Victorian Department of Education, Employment and Training.

Museum Victoria has collected photographs of a range of human activities in Victoria's and Australia's past known as The Biggest Family Album in Australia. The associated website opens the gateway to a database of over 9000 photographs that focus on Victoria from the 1800s to 1950. Online tasks and classroom activities are provided to introduce students and teachers to ways of using historic photographs in the curriculum. The database can be searched using a wide range of criteria including topic, concept, activity, place and date.

Workshop Presenters: Janet Marlow joined Museum Victoria as a senior education officer and later Principal, after thirteen years of Science teaching and administration in Secondary schools. The next ten years was one of continuous development for the Museum, including new museum campuses - Scienceworks and the Melbourne Planetarium, the Immigration Museum and most recently Melbourne Museum - and now the websites. Education officers were involved thoughout, with development and delivery of facilities and exhibitions, student activities and teacher professional development programs as well as online activities and interpreted access to Museum Victoria resources. Janet is currently coordinating the re-design of Museum Victoria's websites, and production of online projects linking curriculum with museum research and collection areas.

John Stewart joined Museum Victoria as an education officer after twenty-five years of primary teaching and administration in metropolitan and rural schools throughout Victoria. With the building of a new Museum, education officers have been involved in the development of exhibitions, extensive professional development for teachers and providing on-line access to Museum Victoria resources. John is currently involved in the development of education materials that link curriculum with exhibitions at the new Melbourne Museum and preparing education activities for visiting school groups.

Please cite as: Marlow, J. and Stewart, J. (2002). Museum Victoria online - Science. In S. McNamara and E. Stacey (Eds), Untangling the Web: Establishing Learning Links. Proceedings ASET Conference 2002. Melbourne, 7-10 July.

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