Uncovering Hidden Histories: Local Wadawurrung stories and digital learning tools at a living history museum.

Year: 2017

Author: Weuffen, Sarah, Cahir, Fred, Barns, Alice, Powell, Byron

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

How could an internationally renowned living history museum, often touted as a theme park, represent cultural respect, integrity, and sensitivity while telling Wadawurrung stories? How could Wadawurrung perspectives be incorporated into a largely western colonial story without backgrounding them, or representing them in tokenistic ways? To what capacity could Wadawurrung perspectives extend accounts of stories relating to the 1850s Australian goldrush period? This was the conundrum precisely facing Sovereign Hill Museum, as they attempted to extend the largely western colonial story presented throughout the museum. Yet, through a collaborative cross-cultural partnership between the Sovereign Hill Museum Association, the Wadawurrung community, and Federation University Australia, a project was developed that was educative in scope, culturally respectful in practice, and digital in delivery. In this presentation, a representative of the collaborative partnership will speak about the process of developing the project, the challenges, and the successes. Specifically, we will speak about the cross-cultural nuances and ways in which dynamics of power/knowledge relationships were engaged to produce a digital education tool focused on promoting Wadawurrung culture in a predominately Eurocentric space.