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Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

Bound for South Australia




History SA


Pixel Press




weekly postweekly postBound for South Australia is a digital re-enactment of the sea voyages made 175 years ago to establish the British Province of South Australia. Using captains’ logs, passenger diaries, letters and other original source material, the Bound for South Australia blog retraced – through real time updates – the journeys made by nine vessels from England to Australia in 1836. Over ten months in 2011, students, teachers and life-long learners were able to re-live the unfolding story of the first 500 settlers as they made their way to an unknown land across the globe.

issues and themesissues and themesThe website is an innovative implementation of the Wordpress blogging platform integrating a unique set of widgets to support semantic linking of archival material and create an enduring and flexible resource for teachers and students alike.  Our aim was to create an online history resource with local relevance that drew on authentic primary source material but was highly accessible, engaging and participative.

Produced in collaboration with the South Australian Department of Education and Child Development, Bound for South Australia is explicitly addressed to both schools-based users and life-long learners, with parallel blog posts each week. In each weekly post, the original source material is contextualised and elaborated with a lively, plain-English narration. Additional information about the people, places, events and associated themes is discoverable through tags and hyperlinks. A range of downloadable resources: including audio, Powerpoint summaries and maps allow for flexible use within different learning settings (and unreliable Internet connections!)

schools postschools postThe weekly content is linked to the new Australian Curriculum: History through inquiry questions, research topics and explicit links to the historical skills specified by the curriculum, suggestions for classroom activities and questions eliciting opinions and points of view from students.  The granular structuring and semantic linking of content support many forms of flexible re-use. Each week’s theme has been designed to be a stand-alone inquiry; or different themes can be combined in a unit of work over a number of weeks.

comments and social mediacomments and social mediaThe site integrated social networking tools and two weekly email newsletters- one to educators and one to general interest users. The opportunities for interaction on the site provided a forum for some interesting and sometimes contentious discussion, providing a space where the historical record could be debated publicly. The average duration of website visits was five and half minutes which is a good indication of engagement, as are the more than 2 000 subscribers who signed up for the weekly email updates, Facebook page, Twitter and RSS feeds. 

interactive mapinteractive mapThe website has been selected as the first online resource in the area of history for the new national curriculum.  This year, a supporting video conference-based program will enable schools to join the story live in their classroom as part of their use of this resource.  An education program and an exhibition of the same title (featuring original objects from the journey) - developed following the success of the website - provide complementary in-museum experiences.

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