Artlook Boutique Stage 4 Teacher Notes

In this practical educator-led program students get up close and personal with Museum specimens and cultural objects and draw their inspiring lines, patterns and details.

Artlook Boutique is a Visual Arts program also relevant to the Science syllabus. Students investigate and draw the shapes and patterns of natural history specimens or Indigenous cultural objects. They will engage with the Museum collection in the way that a professional artist might, by collecting information from it and making artworks in response to it. As they do, they will develop their powers of observation, their drawing skills, and knowledge of the objects they have drawn.

Before your visit

Syllabus Links

The program is relevant to the following New South Wales Board of Studies syllabus documents:

Visual Arts
  • Practice 4.1: uses a range of strategies to explore different artmaking conventions and procedures to make artworks
  • Conceptual framework 4.2: explores the function and relationships between artist – artwork – world – audience
  • Representation 4.4: recognises and uses aspects of the world as a source of ideas, concepts and subject matter in the visual arts.
  • Living Things 4.8: describes features of living things.

Before Your Visit

Pre-visit Activities

To make the most of your Artlook experience at the Museum, we recommend that you promote your students’ observation skills with:

  • Observational games. For example, have students look at objects for 10 seconds, and then, after the object has been removed from sight, describe the object in words.
  • Observational drawing games. For example, have students sit in pairs, back-to-back; while one student of every pair describes the features of an object in their hands, the other student should draw that object. Encourage the student describing the object to be very specific, including details like length, shape and size.

Teachers with a preference for a representational approach may also wish to discuss measurement and its use in scale drawing.


You do not need to photocopy any materials for this session.

At the Australian Museum

On site activities

You will have nominated a particular area of focus for this activity – rocks and minerals, animals or Australian Indigenous objects as the theme. (Please mention whether you want to further focus on a particular type of animal, e.g. birds).

This theme will be the focus of a drawing activity that will be set up solely for your students in a designated workshop space. The activity allows a special opportunity for students to be ‘hands on’ with selected Museum specimens that they may not have ever seen in such an ‘up close and personal’ way.

Please let us know your preference on the day for a representational style of drawing or for a looser, more free-flowing or even abstract approach.

Organisation of the day

Sessions are of 1 hour duration.

Post-visit activities

  • Review the drawings and photographs collected from the Museum when back at school – discuss the choices made and features of the drawings.
  • Enhance the research drawings and artworks for display at school.
  • Use the drawings as a basis for designs for a printed t-shirt, bag or poster.
  • Recycling Box creations – visit a place such as a reverse garbage depot and use some selected items to create a group sculptural artwork on the drawings and/or your time at the Australian Museum in general.
  • Make a mural that incorporates small sections from each student’s personal focus on the visit.
  • Visit an artist’s studio and talk to them about what makes them want to make artworks.
  • Discuss how drawing an object increases your understanding of it, and how drawings distributed (e.g. in books) might increase a community’s understanding of what is drawn.
  • Research any animals that were drawn, to discover the function of the animal part/s that were drawn. Then have students suggest how the structure of the parts might facilitate that function. 
  • Research any rocks and minerals that were drawn and investigate how their structure might relate to the way that they have been formed. 
  • Investigate the function and significance of Indigenous objects that were drawn and then have students suggest how the structure of any object might facilitate its function.

Ms Helen Wheeler , Learning Services Operations Manager
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