2017 McCoy Seed Fund Projects

South Seas

Melbourne in the south seas

Museums and cultural collections are sites of cross-cultural interactions over time. Spanning 166 years, Melbourne Museum’s collections materialize historical engagements with the South Seas. Focusing on the Vanuatu collection we explore the specific interactions and connections between Melbourne and the “South Seas” since the 1850s and the significance the collection holds to Vanuatu and South Sea Islands descendants today. This pilot study uses historical collections as a vehicle for contemporary reflection upon the connection between place and transnationalism seeking a rich understanding of intercultural exchange in the past and the present, and consider what this means for Pacific Islanders in the future.


Dr Elizabeth Bonshek (Joint CI MV) and Dr Kalissa Alexeyeff (UoM Joint CI)

Early childhood learning in museum experiences

Museums provide rich learning environments for all children. With the opening of the Children’s Gallery at Melbourne Museum (MV) there is a unique opportunity for University early childhood education researchers to collaborate with Museum educators to research and evaluate early childhood museum programs, available through incursion (Backyard Bugs) and excursion (Grandad’s Shed) experiences. The research will link the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF), specifically Learning Outcome Children are Effective Communicators, with respect to the language and multi-literacy experiences afforded in ‘hands-on’ museum programs where children participate in interactive storytelling that is animated by scientific, historical and Indigenous artefacts.


Dr Liz Suda (Joint CI MV) and A/Prof Patricia Eadie (Joint CI UoM)

Emotion Museum
Early Childhood Learning

Emotion and the contemporary museum

Contemporary museums attempt to design exhibitions that provoke an emotional response in visitors. This is often done with the intention of promoting social change through the fostering of empathy with people whose histories can be difficult to understand. Emotions, however, are harder to evaluate than knowledge or attitudes. This project will employ an innovative method of evaluating the WWI – Love and Sorrow exhibition at Museum Victoria. Based on the techniques of drawing and the walking interview, the project will provide valuable insights into the role of emotions in the museum experience and further theorise emotion as a vehicle for social change.


Ms Deborah Tout-Smith (Joint CI MV) and Dr Rachel Hughes (Joint CI UoM)

The museum multiple: understanding older vistors

Museums are more than their collections – they are spaces that provide social, cultural and cognitive opportunities for their citizens. However, are museums currently fulfilling their potential to offer opportunities for older citizens to participate in contemporary community life? One that could incorporate new experiences, fun, learning and a shared social activity, and to foster health and wellbeing through engagement, social inclusion and participation. We know little about the motivations, drivers and perceptions of older museum visitors or how museums meet their social, emotional and intellectual needs. This research proposes to address this gap with a view to museums optimising their social capacity in the context of ageing populations.


Dr Carolyn Meehan (Joint CI MV) and Dr Andrew Jamieson (Joint CI UoM)

The Museum Multiple
Reflective Learning Experiences

Understanding reflective learning experiences in musuems

Learning in museums is dependent on visitors’ personal experiences and how they interpret the exhibitions. As such, a key challenge for museums is connecting exhibitions and visitors in ways that promote reflection and learning. Reflection is an important part of learning and, as in other learning environments, it can be designed and promoted in museums. The aim of this project is to better understand the nature of learning that takes place within exhibition spaces of museums, broadly based on self-regulated learning theories. This project is aligned with the learning and teaching theme, and will contribute to the fields of museum studies, educational psychology, and analytics.


Mr Cameron Hocking (Joint CI MV) and Professor Gregor Kennedy (Joint CI UoM)