National Museum of Australia's History Makers Video Challenge now open for submissions - Education Matters Magazine
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National Museum of Australia’s History Makers Video Challenge now open for submissions

The Gandel Foundation Australia's History Makers Video Challenge

Looking for a new way to challenge students in Term 3? Combining Australian Curriculum learning areas, general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities, the History Makers School Video Challenge provides students with an opportunity to creatively demonstrate their research and understanding of Australian history – and bring those moments to life through film and multimedia.

The National Museum of Australia’s innovative Digital History Program, Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom, invites students to explore key moments that have shaped Australian identity and culture through an interactive timeline of Australian history dating back 65,000 years.

The National Museum of Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom website is a treasure trove of learning resources presented as a series of comprehensive interactive learning modules that contain primary sources from the museum, scanned photographs, videos, virtual tours, facts, trivia, and many other curiosities and relics – all free to the public to access online.

The Defining Moments Digital Classroom initiative made headlines in 2020 when Australian philanthropists and founders of the Gandel Foundation, Mr John and Ms Pauline Gandel, pledged a generous $1.5 million dollars toward the program’s development – the single largest donation the National Museum has ever received.

The success of the program encouraged the National Museum to focus on developing its next program with the aim of inspiring and engaging Australian students at a national and local level, which saw the launch of the first History Makers School Video Challenge in 2022, led by the National Museum of Australia’s Assistant School Outreach Manager Ms Leanne Pope.

“The Defining Moments Digital Classroom and the History Makers School Video Challenge are inspired by education, which is what the National Museum of Australia is all about, and the digital classroom is intended to complement the museum’s existing on site, digital and outreach education programs,” says Ms Pope. “These programs have been linked to the Australian Curriculum, created with educators in mind, and designed for students to explore the volumes of digital resources that we have to offer.”

Australia's History Makers Video Challenge
Open to primary and secondary level students, the National Museum of Australia’s History Makers Video Challenge invites Australian students to submit video and multimedia projects inspired by moments that inspire them.


“The History Makers School Video Challenge encourages students to engage with our Defining Moments in the Digital Classroom website and identify the historical events that are of most interest or relevance to them,” says Ms Pope. “Students are welcome to submit their own individual story, or work as a group or an entire class and we encourage teachers and educators to get involved.”

The videos submitted in 2022 came from across Australia and covered a broad range of topics including the demise of Bushranger Johnny Gilbert, the abolition of capital punishment and the integration of schools, and one class of students travelled back to the 1700s, reeinacting the time of the first Australian settlers.

“Last year, we received over 100 amazing submissions. We had a panel that examined all the videos and placed them in categories. It was hard because every video was inspiring in its own ways and showcased so many beautiful moments. But we had to choose just 20 winners and 10 of those were runners up,” she says. “With generous support from the Gandel Foundation, competition winners are awarded $2,000 and runners up with $500, which can be put toward learning resources or improving communities.”

Ms Pope’s commitment to delivering a diverse range of innovative cultural programs across the country is evidenced by her passion for education and the arts and extensive experience with transforming the Australian culture, history and identity into interactive and engaging experiences that have a powerful impact on the public.

“As a Wiradjuri/Tubba-Gah Woman, I love seeing First Nations culture, being researched, and then relayed in a manner where young people can tell and retell their stories and the defining moments from where they have come from so far.”

Australia's History Makers Video Challenge
Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom is a good place for students to begin their journey into Australian history by exploring an interactive timeline dating back 65,000 years.


For students, teachers, and schools who are interested in joining the competition, Ms Pope recommends using the Defining Moments Digital Classroom site as a starting place for inspiration.

“The first thing I would suggest is that students explore the timeline, spend some time looking through the moments, and see what appeals to them,” she says. “What I love most about this site is that say you click on a national park, and you think you are going to learn about the bush, but then it will expand into a learning journey, where suddenly you are learning about early settlers, immigration, scarlet fever, and goldmining.”

“You may start out looking at a national park, and then realise, wow, I am really interested in the history of goldmining in that area. Students may start their journey in one spot but could end up somewhere else entirely. And that’s exactly what we love about education. The more you research, the more you learn and the more exciting the journey becomes,” she furthers.

“From that point you can start to get excited and inspired about where to take your own history video, what you want to make, and why it’s special to you.”

Entries for the History Makers 2023 School Video Challenge are open until 15 September 2023. The challenge is open to all Australian school students (K-12) and can be completed as individuals, small groups, or whole classes. The teaching and learning experience can be adjusted for all year levels, for all levels of digital capability and across a wide variety of topics.

The History Makers 2023 School Video Challenge is supported with video resources for teachers on cultural protocols, copyright acknowledgements and topics to be explored. All winning videos become part of the Digital Classroom to be used by other students as resources.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to explore their creative side through the lens of history. Participants can come with their own story, history or recreate their own historic moments from their hometown or school,” Ms Pope concludes.

Are you ready to become a #HistoryMaker in 2023? For full details and terms and conditions of the competition visit:

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