If you stroll past the Subiaco Museum on a weekday in May or June, it’s not uncommon to see a group of schoolchildren dressed in 1900s clothing using buckets to wash clothes, viewing an Austin 7 car from 1923, or playing old-fashioned schoolyard games.
The Subiaco Museum offers a comprehensive school program to year one and year two classes at local schools that is free of charge. This year, a total of 16 classes are set to participate and take a step back in time.
Split into 90-minute sessions, the program gives year one students the chance to dress up in 1900s costumes, dig into the museum trunk to explore historical objects and photographs that belonged to local families in the past, and listen to stories about the daily lives of the local Lipfert family.
Year two students role play daily lives of Subiaco families during the early 1900s by completing typical tasks of the time, including washing and using old technology like phones, radios, and kitchen equipment. They also hear stories about Bert, who was the telegraph man for Subiaco at the time.
This year, participating students also have the chance to view a vintage Austin 7 car, which was manufactured in 1923, up close. The car belongs to museum volunteer Marion Gathercole, who is happy to show off its unique features to the schoolchildren.
The program is run by a team of museum staff and volunteers, who enjoy sharing stories of Subiaco’s history with the young participants.
Museum volunteer Jennifer Salinger says, “As a historian and genealogist, I enjoy working with children as they find out about the history of our local community – it is such a pleasure to see youngsters having fun while they learn! I have also enjoyed making new friends with the volunteers; other adults in the community who share a common interest.”
Museum Officer Rosemary Roberts echoes this sentiment. “The school program offered at Subiaco Museum is unique in that it explores the stories and lives of real individuals and families from Subiaco’s history. I thoroughly enjoy seeing the students engaged in learning about the past through a range of hands-on activities.”