Migration and identity

Suitable for Year Levels 3–10

Small objects, big stories: how we create, keep and share stories

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Activity 1

Objects and stories

Suitable for Year Levels 3–4

Watch this short video and hear Curator Moya McFadzean share the story behind two very interesting objects in our collection.

  • Do you have any photograph albums at home?
  • Do you have any cameras at home?

You can download the workbook here or open up the file on your computer and complete the activities in your own book.

Ask an adult if you can have a look at some of your family albums. You can also explore a selection of the Museum Victoria’s collection of cameras and albums.

Activity 2

Karl Muffler's migration story

Suitable for Year Levels 5–6

This story is about a man who came to Australia as an immigrant. The Immigration Museum has discovered his story from objects that were donated to the museum by his family.

Perhaps you have an immigration story in your family. Perhaps you or your family have objects that can help you learn and understand more about your family’s immigration story. We would like you to use the museum objects to discover Karl Muffler’s story and complete the activities in the booklet we have made for you.

You can download the workbook here or open up the file on your computer and complete the activities in your own book.

Discovering this man’s story might help you find ways of discovering someone else’s story – perhaps someone in your family or perhaps the story of someone else you know.

Activity 3

How data provides details for our stories

Suitable for Year Levels 5–9

Watch this short clip and consider how you would answer this question

  • Do you think anyone would ask you to answer that question?
  • What are you thinking about after watching this clip?
  • Why would someone ask a question like this?

Have a look at this website:

Origins is based on government census information gathered in Victoria since 1854. The 1971 Census was the first Australian Census to fully include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Australia’s First People. Because of this, the Immigration Museum acknowledges that Census data preceding 1971 cannot provide an accurate representation of the Australian population.

Go to the Overview page and read through the history of the census in Victoria and complete the following:

  • What are you thinking about after reading the overview?
  • Look at the census data for each of the key periods –2016, 1962, 1901, 1854
  • Write down three observations for each period.
  • What has changed over time to the structure of the Victorian population?
  • Why do you think these dates were chosen?

Activity 4

Stories of belonging

Suitable for Year Levels 5–10

Identity: yours, mine, ours is an exhibition at the Immigration Museum. It is about identity – who we are, who others think we are, and what it means to belong and not belong in Australia.

Watch this short video of Avtej (Avi) Singh explaining how he feels about cricket and being part of a team.

The patka Avi is wearing in the video is part of the Migration and Cultural Diversity collection of Museums Victoria.

  • What are you thinking about after watching this video and reading about the patka?
  • How do you show your membership of a particular group?
  • Do you have a uniform or some special accessory which helps other members of the group know you are also a member?
  • How do you feel when you are wearing these items?

If you are not part of any “organised team” or group can you think of other ways you can show you have similar interests to others – think of your areas of interest. For example, music and recreational activities.

Watch more videos of people and the objects they feel connect them to others 

  • Where do you feel you belong?
  • What object would you choose to represent your feeling of belonging?
  • What have you been doing during March and April 2020 to feel connected to others in the groups that are important to you?

Activity 5

Stories on a tram

Suitable for Year Levels 5–10

Watch this clip and think about the ways in which people react to one another in public places.

  • What did you feel after watching this clip?

Now watch the short clips from the perspectives of each individual on the tram:





After listening to each person’s perspective complete the following activities:

  • What are you thinking about after watching these short scenarios?
  • Think of 5 individuals or groups you think would find these clips of interest.
  • List the group and explain why you think they should take the time to watch the clips.
  • Each of the participants in the scene makes reference to how they are feeling or to something they remember their parents saying or doing – choose two of the characters and see if you can explain why they are acting the way they are.
  • Why do you think the Immigration Museum exhibition designers and curators wanted this Tram scene to be part of the exhibition Identity: Yours, Mine,Ours?

If you are interested in how we might respond to race based discrimination in public places this short video produced by Vic Health has some ideas to consider.

Victorian Curriculum


Levels 3–4

  • The role that people of diverse backgrounds have played in the development and character of the local community and/or other societies (VCHHK074)

Levels 5–6

  • The stories and perspectives of people who migrated to Australia, …and the reasons they migrated (VCHHK095)

Levels 9–10

  • Changing social, cultural, historical, economic, environmental, political and technological conditions on a major global influence in Australia. Migration experiences - Investigating policies of multiculturalism since the 1970s and the concepts of cultural heritage and assimilation (VCHHK159)

Intercultural Capability

Levels 3–4

  • Explain the role of cultural traditions in the development of personal, group and national identities (VCICCD007)
  • Identify how understandings between culturally diverse groups can be encouraged and achieved (VCICCD008)

Levels 5–6

  • Explain how intercultural experiences can influence beliefs and behaviours, including developing a critical perspective on and respect for their own and others cultures (VCICCB010)
  • Examine and discuss the variety of ways in which people understand and appreciate differing cultural values and perspectives, and the things which promote or inhibit effective engagement with diverse cultural groups (VCICCD012)
Levels 9–10
  • Identify and analyse the challenges and benefits of living and working in an interconnected and culturally diverse world (VCICCD019)
  • Analyse the components of a cohesive society, and the challenges, benefits and consequences of maintaining or failing to maintain that cohesion (VCICCD020)

Civics and Citizenship - Citizenship Diversity and Identity

Level 9–10
  • Analyse contemporary examples and issues relating to Australian democracy and global connections, including key aspects of citizenship in a pluralist society (VCCCC035)
  • Discuss challenges to and ways of sustaining a resilient democracy and cohesive society (VCCCC036)

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