New Museum exhibition shows history of education in South Canterbury

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Published: 30 Aug 2019

An exhibition of local schooling over the past 150 years opens this Saturday at the South Canterbury Museum.

The Three Rs : Education in South Canterbury has been developed by Museum Curator Tony Rippin, using both Museum resources and collaborations with schools and individuals in the community.

This exhibition, which runs from 31 August to 24 November, will provide snapshots of how the education system and local schools developed as the community grew. It also takes a look at modern schools, providing a comparison with how schools have changed in recent times.

South Canterbury Museum Director, Philip Howe, says that the exhibition offers an excellent opportunity for different generations to get connected and share their stories.

“School today bears little resemblance to traditional schooling that focused on the ‘three Rs’ - reading, writing and arithmetic, the style of schooling that came with early settlers in the mid-19th century,” he said.

“Major changes through the 20th century reflected societies gender perceptions of the time. Boys in rural high schools had compulsory agriculture classes, while girls had to learn home sciences. Some even felt that further education made girls unfit for motherhood.

“The exhibition touches upon these subjects and more. It is well-illustrated with photographs, digital media, and items from past and present.

“We believe it will evoke memories for anyone who attended school. It also offers an excellent opportunity for the current generation to understand how the education system has evolved. We encourage people to come and explore the exhibition, as it offers an excellent opportunity for different generations to get connected and share their stories.

“We are interested in finding ways to explore and show how our region’s past links to the present.” Howe says. “This gives our visitors and local residents the chance to gain their own understandings about where we live and who we are as a community.”

The Three Rs Exhibition runs from 31 August to 24 November at South Canterbury Museum, with a public opening at 5.30 pm Friday on 30 August.

Last updated: 24 Feb 2021