Hands-on Heritage at the National Wool Museum

The challenge

Since 2017, this partnership between Deakin University REDI and the National Wool Museum has been investigating how educational and cultural institutions might be re-evaluated to support and re-make more sustainable and equitable futures for young people and their kin in times of accelerating temporal, spatial, climatic and socio-relational transition.

Axminster Loom, National Wool Museum, 2023. Image: Merinda Kelly

Project overview

This project involves a critical revision of the National Wool Museum’s existing pedagogical and material archives through diverse, more-than-human and decolonising lenses. Throughout the research process the potentialities for new local, national and global relations between Australia’s colonial past and the systemic (dis)continuities of colonialism are explored.

Deliberated in conjunction with the National Wool Museum’s Wadawurrung consultants and relevant material from the On the Land Exhibition, the new project, Hands-on Heritage aims to disrupt entrenched perceptions of Geelong by catalysing new ways of coming to know the city. Student and teacher participants in the program encounter an inclusive and creatively curated, hands-on learning event that activates decolonising and creative, arts-based pedagogies, practices and technologies.

The project also aligns with the Museum’s overarching strategy to extend the collection and its programs beyond the wool narrative to include additional First Nations stories and narratives that are reflective of the many waves of migration since colonisation and how they braid together to form the rich and complex social fabric of the city of Geelong.

Federal Woollen Mills, Geelong. Image courtesy of Hamilton Group.



The outcomes of this project include:

  • a report for the National Wool Museum
  • a professional development day for teachers at the National Wool Museum
  • a journal article.


City of Greater Geelong




decolonisation, equity, inquiry learning, intercultural, regional heritage, wool, museum