Group of people looking at objects

Object Based Learning Program

Innovative learning and teaching that connects University of Sydney staff and students with the collections of the Chau Chak Wing Museum.

Access curated historical and cultural artefacts, artworks, specimens and archives for your teaching and research. Our award-winning program offers world-class learning facilities for academic engagement supported by expert curatorial and collection staff. 

What is Object Based Learning?

Object Based Learning (OBL) is a pedagogy that encourages participants to explore problems, concepts, events and ideas of the past, present and future by engaging with objects. 

A powerful learning tool, OBL facilitates high information retention, creativity and enthusiasm for inquiry into subject-specific and cross-disciplinary areas of study. Working with curated objects encourages deep learning through sensory engagement, the practical application of observation and analysis, group discussion and the communication of ideas and multiple perspectives. 

What is the Object Based Learning Program?

The Museum's OBL program is facilitated by our Academic Engagement Curators, Dr Eve Guerry and Jane Thogersen, who provide collection-based learning experiences in dedicated museum teaching spaces. 

We work with you to embed curated collection items into your Units of Study, programs, and research projects to create bespoke learning experiences and assessment tasks. 

The Museum collections also offer an incredible opportunity to hone transferrable skills including observation, critical analysis, interpretation, creative problem-solving, communication, teamwork and identifying multiple perspectives. 

As a specialist centre of OBL, the Museum supports and develops unique opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and research. Best of all it's lots of fun and – considering the quality and breadth of material in the collections – a unique, meaningful and memorable experience. 


The OBL program is for all University of Sydney students and staff across campus who want to engage with the Museum collections and exhibitions for learning, teaching and research. 

We are keen to support new participants, as well as those with existing Museum relationships. So if you have a Unit of Study, program, project, or idea, please reach out to us directly and we will work with you to curate object lists and design OBL activities. 

The Chau Chak Wing Museum brings together the Nicholson, Macleay and University Art collections, offering a window into a wide variety of human and natural experiences over a vast period of time and geographical locations. 

There are relevant collection items for every faculty and discipline across campus, just ask us! 

You can access the collections online (2D and 3D), in the exhibition galleries, and in one of the three dedicated OBL studios. 

The studios are fitted with display cases and AV equipment compatible with Zoom and other video conferencing tools (screens, microphones, cameras). 

The OBL Program operates Monday to Friday, 10:00am – 4:45pm, excluding public holidays and University shutdown periods. 

The OBL program is a free service* for University of Sydney staff and students that facilitates engagement with the Museum in a range of ways:

  • Coordinate class visits and Museum guest speakers
  • Facilitate collection access for OBL experiences and research projects 
  • Work with you to embed curated collection items and/or exhibitions into units, programs, assessment tasks and research projects
  • Work with you to design and deliver meaningful learning activities utilising the curated items and/or exhibitions. OBL activities can focus on specific content and/or on targeted skill development. We will help you find the most productive solution for you and your students
  • Support and develop interdisciplinary learning and research opportunities

* Instances that may carry a fee include: catering, non-standard equipment, access outside of teaching hours and non-USYD participants.

The OBL Program supports Museum and object engagement for on-site, remote and hybrid learning. The OBL studios are fitted with AV equipment compatible with Zoom and other video conferencing tools (screens, microphones, cameras). 

If you are a Sydney University staff member or student, please fill out our form for all bookings and enquiries. 

Currently, the OBL program supports staff and students at The University of Sydney. 

Engagement is offered to external individuals and groups for a fee and this can be arranged through the Museum's Public Outreach and Education program.