Students explore the theme of 'piecing together the puzzle' through a hands-on workshop and a tour of related shipwreck material in the museum.

The program investigates the methodology of maritime archaeology and the heritage value of shipwrecks through examining the roles of maritime archaeologists, conservators and curators. Students handle artefacts and learn about assessing and excavating sites, conserving and interpreting objects and methods of investigating the past.

Curriculum references (NSW)

NSW History Stages 4 &5
Mandatory - Investigating History
4.1, 4.5,4.6,4.7,4.9, 5.1 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.9
Elective - Constructing History
E4.1, E4.2, E4.3, E4.6, E4.7, E4.9
E5.1, E5.5, E5.6, E5.7 ,E5.9
Marine and Aquaculture technology
Stage 5 general Focus Area
Module 44 – Shipwrecks and Salvage

Program structure

Students use a mock seabed to study how maritime archaeologists prepare and operate an excavation site, in particular the specifics of an underwater site. Students examine, sort and identify shipwreck artefacts, draw conclusions from evidence and work in groups to piece together the story of an 18th-century sailor.

A post-visit exercise introduces the role of the curator in interpreting objects for display and writing for different audiences.

Breaks can be scheduled for either 15 or 30 minutes depending on the time limitations of the school. We ask that students do not leave the museum precinct during this time. A kiosk and toilets are available on site.


Price: $15 per student.

Teachers and supervising adults visit FREE of charge within the ratios specified in Plan Your School Visit. Additional adults will be charged the student rate.

More information

  • Duration and start/finish times: contingent upon student numbers and will be arranged and explained during booking.
  • Breaks: you're welcome to take recess or lunch at the museum before or after the program, but mid-program breaks must be arranged at time of booking.
  • Entry to exhibitions and vessels: all bookings include FREE entry to museum exhibitions and HMAS Vampire, time permitting. All other vessels require pre-booking. A supervisor/student ratio of 1:15 applies on HMAS Vampire.
  • Location: all programs begin and end at the Australian National Maritime Museum, 2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour, Sydney.