History Festival Schools Poetry Takeover

Let’s change the way students and teachers participate in South Australia’s History Festival in May 2020!

Students years 4-11

Throughout May, all schools throughout South Australia are invited to participate in a poetry-developing activity.

We encourage you to engage with museums and interpret museum collections in a different way. What does local history mean to you? Why are objects important and why should we care? Why would a museum have that particular object on display? What’s the story?

Targeting HASS and English students from Years 4-11, students will be invited to pick a museum object, digital or non-digital, and write a poem relating to the theme ‘changing identities’. It could be a haiku, a stanza, a verse, or a slam, written or recorded. Whatever form is most interesting.

Submissions can be written, or audio or video files, along with a picture of the object. The History Trust will share the poems on a special Poetry Takeover website and on the History Festival Facebook and Instagram pages (@historyfestival).

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Updated to accommodate COVID-19 access restrictions

Due to new national social gathering measures announced by the Prime Minister on 22 March, many community museums and galleries will be closed. If your local museum or gallery doesn't have a website or online galleries, students can still take part in the Poetry Takeover. Along with accessing digital objects from the History Trust collections, students may also take inspiration from other state and national collections found online. Below is just a sampling of digital collections in Australia and abroad. We'll be adding to this list as more materials become available.

History Trust of South Australia's Museums

South Australian Maritime Museum | National Motor Museum | Migration Museum | Centre of Democracy

Other digital collections and exhibitions

South Australian History Network - Explore History

Epic Flight Centenary website

South Australian Museum Archives

Art Gallery of South Australia online collections

National Gallery of Australia

National Museum Australia collection explorer

Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences

Museums Victoria online collections

Museum of WA online collections

Guide to Virtual Museum resources

Recommendations from The Art Newspaper


Download Poetry Takeover flyer (PDF)

Poetry Takeover Venue Poster A4 (PDF)

Poetry Takeover Venue Poster A3 (PDF)

General info:

This activity is open to students in South Australia from years 4-11. Homeschoolers are welcome to participate.

Age groups will be split into three categories:

  1. Years 4-6
  2. Years 7-8
  3. Years 9-11

Poems will be inspired by a museum object. Students can engage with objects by either visiting  a museum, or exploring collections online.

The theme of the poem is 'changing identities' (this sits with ACARA English years 4-11).

Up to a maximum 300 words per poem.

Only one entry per student. Teachers can select their 10 best poems from the class to submit.

Teachers or homeschooling parents can submit poems by direct message on the Poetry Takeover Facebook page or by email.

Each poem to be accompanied by an image of the object (please ensure you have permission to capture and share the image).

Entries to be submitted by Friday 29 May.

More info: How to participate and Terms and Conditions (PDF)

Contact us for further enquiries.

Connect with your local school or museum

Download a list of schools, community museums & galleries by council area (PDF)

Check out the Explore History website

Poetry Takeover Resources:

Reflection cards (PDF)

School group booking form template (for museums) (Word)

How the Poetry Takeover demonstrates good museum practice (PDF)


More handy resources:

Rules for a Playful Museum (PDF)