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DressUP: active citizenship has no age limit

 Mark Nolan
A child dressing up in a costume inspired by the outfit of Malala Yousafzai in the DressUP: Change the World exhibtion. Photo by: Mark Nolan
Showing that all voices can make a difference, no matter how small they may seem, DressUP: Change the World is helping younger generations to discover the stories of some of the world’s most remarkable people. Showing that all voices can make a difference, no matter how small they may seem, DressUP: Change the World is helping younger generations discover the stories of some of the world’s most remarkable people. The interactive exhibition plays an important role is how the museum aims to encourage active citizenship across all ages..

Designed for young people aged 8–18 and offering an immersive experience, the DressUP permanent exhibition encourages visitors to try on costumes based on the iconic outfits of eight inspirational people from around the world: artist Frida Kahlo; Australia’s first female Indigenous House of Representatives member, Linda Burney; footballer Adam Goodes; education activist and Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai; electoral law reformer Andrew Inglis Clark; World War II war hero Nancy Wake; science communicator Karl Kruszelnicki; and singer-songwriter Beyoncé.

Visitors can listen to their personal stories and learn about the challenges each faced and the obstacles they overcame, being reminded that even famous adults were once young and had doubts and insecurities. By dressing in colourful and tactile costumes, a visitor is encouraged to ‘walk in the shoes’ of a person who has made a difference and to imagine ‘I could be them’.

The audio, text and graphic content of the exhibition encourage visitors to engage deeply with the characters’ stories and reflect on their own personal resources that might be similarly world changing. The exhibition prompts young people to consider the following questions:

  • What does it take to change the world?
  • Does adversity make us stronger and give us the ability to overcome our own mistakes?
  • Can I use my voice to protect the rights of others?
  • How can I make the world a better place?

The exhibition also showcases the Zine Lounge, which provides young visitors with space to unleash their creativity. Using materials to sketch, stick or staple together a personal zine, young people can meet, relax and consider how they too can contribute to their community and communicate their own stories and ideas.

DressUP: Change The World encourages our visitors to understand that a small voice can be loud and clear. As Malala famously said, ‘Don’t let your age stop you from changing the world!’