Turning the museum indside out: the biological sciences at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Sara Estrada-Arevalo, Vicki Michael, Andrew Simpson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    New biological sciences laboratories at Macquarie University have a range of advanced learning technologies to cater for large numbers of undergraduate students. This has provided the opportunity to develop an extended series of integrated exhibition spaces. This distributed model of university exhibition work, effectively turning the museum inside out, has not compromised the role of the fixed exhibition space, or museum, within the biological sciences precinct. Instead it has acted as a catalyst for rethinking student engagement with the museum. A working party was established, including student representation, to map collection content with staff expertise. This project has enabled the development of an enhanced digital presence for the museum where multiple cross disciplinary narratives are being developed around collection objects. The rationale, process and preliminary outcomes are described in this paper. It represents a useful model of student engagement for a museum with restricted space and financial resources in any academic discipline. The processes generated by this change reinforce the primacy of an object-based pedagogy in tertiary education and more closely align collection content with institutional mission.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)57-64
    Number of pages8
    JournalUniversity Museums and Collections Journal
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Macquarie University
    • biological sciences
    • natural history collections
    • academic and public engagement


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