Archives Alive Archives alive! is a term often used to describe eﬀorts to engage people with archival material in teaching and learning programs. This year, during the sesquicentennial celebrations, special objects from our archives have brought our history alive in classrooms and learning spaces across the school. Early in the year, Year 6 art students took part in an object-based learning exercise to illustrate the agency that objects have in communicating information about the subject of a portrait. The art room was cleaned and prepared and a number of special items were placed on tables around the room with no accompanying information. The students were encouraged to learn what they could from the object itself. A thick wool blazer, with a simpliﬁed school logo appliqued onto the pocket in a gloss grey thread, immediately caught the attention of a number of students who noticed a small white ribbon sewn onto the inside of the collar and printed with red block letters, the word ‘FESTER’. The students were all familiar with Sister Fester, and the blazer, which had belonged to her son Martin, was no longer just an old blazer, it was associated with Sister Fester and it began to expand her story and her connection with the school for the students.
In Term 2, Year 1 students from both campuses came together for a history morning at the Williamstown campus. In groups, students explored the built heritage of the campus, and then had a chance to handle and examine some moveable objects from the archives such as a straw summer hat from the 1960s and the 1978 Literata. The students also enjoyed hearing stories from a collection of oral histories from the archives, such as Thelma Stringer’s description of a ‘smelly’ sea sponge carried in a tin in her bag to clean the pencil from her slate each day. At Truganina, during the Commemoration, Remembrance and Community unit of enquiry, Year 3 students studied the history of the school and images from the archives of past school logos. They considered the colours and the shapes, the elements that had changed and those that had stayed the same, in versions of the school logo over time. Working in groups, students then incorporated what they had learnt of the school’s history into designing their own sesquicentenary logo to commemorate and remember the past, and celebrate the current Westbourne community. Objects from the archives have also been on display across the school, in the Truganina reception area, in the
Senior Library and in the new Learning Resource Centre at the Williamstown campus. All of this is made possible by donations to the Archives from the Westbourne community and this year some very signiﬁcant donations have been received and are greatly appreciated. Keith Dempster, whose mother, Gwen Manderson, attended Westbourne in the early 1920s, donated a photograph of a student group from 1920. The photograph joins other photographs taken on the same day and together they give a wonderful sense of school photo day, 1920. Also, past student Allana Arapakis (Horsfall) donated a tiny school blazer and winter felt hat worn during her kindergarten year. Past students have described the navy felt hat worn by girls during the winter in oral histories, and it is wonderful to now have an example, the only one of its kind in the archives, to be able to bring those descriptions to life. If you would like to donate items to our Archives, please contact Linda North at: email@example.com, or phone 9731 9456 (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday).
Linda North School Archivist
Monomeith | Edition 11 2017 | 35