Learning History The Visual Way

How we helped the National Museum of Australia bring to life some of Australia’s most defining moments.

The Problem

The NMA wanted to provide a conversation starter for teachers and students to discuss their curated series, Defining Moments in Australian History.

The Defining Moments project was launched by the Prime Minister in 2014 to stimulate a discussion about public events that have a profound significance on the Australian people. The museum had the online resources and curriculum available, but they wanted a way to make it more engaging, interesting and, if appropriate, funny!

At a Glance

  • Project: Defining Moments in Australia’s History Video Series
  • Client: National Museum of Australia
  • Delivered: 2019-2021
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Category: Education, Explainer Video
Go to the videos

Our Approach

Working with the National Museum of Australia to create this video series really was a dream come true. The project was very collaborative, with trips to Canberra, voice over sessions in Sydney and Melbourne, the expert curatorial team at the museum supplying reference material and of course, our own expertise in terms of writing, editing, illustration, camera and sound.

Together we have created a series of compelling videos about exciting topics such the Gold Rush, Eureka Stockade, Female Suffrage, The Castle Hill Rebellion and the Secret Ballot.

Our Solution

Sketch Group worked closely with well-known historian and writer David Hunt to bring the Defining Moments to life.

We put a lot of effort into ensuring historical accuracy, using the museums’ resources to reference historical figures, fashion and location. Our illustrator used these as guides along with her own creative talents to create storyboards that were engaging, entertaining and true to the time.

We iterated through several versions with the client until we came up with final imagery that everyone was delighted with. These were not the quickest series of videos we have created, but they are the most historically detailed, and the time spent was well worth it. We know teachers and students will be looking at these videos for many years to come!

The Outcome

The client informs us that the videos, hosted on the museum’s website, have attracted tens of thousands of visitors from the key audience of school students—the video about the Gold Rush proving particularly popular.



Excitingly, in May 2020 the Defining Moments video series was awarded a Silver medal in the prestigious Telly Awards, for best animated video in the Non-broadcast category.

Perhaps more importantly though, we consider repeat business to be a good indicator of client satisfaction. In October 2019, the NMA re-engaged Sketch Group for three more in the Defining Moments series—hopefully with even more to come!

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