The Australian War Memorial hosted a virtual excursion webinar for 40,000 registered students on Wednesday 1 September.
Developed in response to NSW school cancellations of Year 5/6 excursions to Canberra, the virtual excursion was organised by Distance and Rural Technologies Learning, an initiative of the NSW Department of Education, as part of a virtual week in Canberra.
Australian War Memorial Education Manager Robyn Siers said over 600 school booking were received for the virtual excursion that was delivered through Zoom and YouTube live technology platforms.
“Staff from the Memorial’s Education team shared stories and led the school students on virtual gallery walkthroughs,” Ms Siers said.
Highlighted areas included the First World War Gallery, featuring the Lone Pine diorama and objects from the Gallipoli gallery. Students were also shown objects in the Second World War galleries that highlighted the changing roles of women including the Changi Quilt, created by women interned by the Japanese in Changi Prison.
During the virtual excursion, students were shown examples of a First World War soldier’s food, the Sculpture Garden, the Memorial’s Lone Pine, and the Flanders Fields Memorial Garden.
The Memorial’s ‘On Closer Inspection’ series of immersive 360-degree resources focused on more recent conflicts were also drawn upon during the online experience.
“The final part of the tour was a virtual walkthrough of the Commemorative Area and an explanation of Hall of Memory and the significance of the poppies and their place beside names on the Roll of Honour. Teachers and students had the opportunity to ask questions with a staff member managing the question and answer session behind the scenes,” Ms Siers said.
Nine Canberra national cultural institutions were involved in the virtual week in Canberra, all of which hosted virtual programs from the homes of staff members, with well over 100,000 students registered for sessions over the course of the week.