Introducing Madelena

Image: woman sitting in front of bronze statue of family with suitcase

Madelena Bendo is the Education Officer at the Migration Museum. The role is managed through Outreach Education, part of the Department for Education and Child Development (DECD).

I really enjoy working with young people. I relish their freshness and their openness to knowledge. As a child of a migrant, I understood the significance of good teachers and good relationships.  I understood how easy it was for students to get lost in the education system. I also have an interest in languages, culture and change, and teaching seemed like a great place for me to start to share the interesting experiences and learning I had been fortunate to have.

Pathway to History SA

Madelena has brought her understanding of the teaching profession and a broad range of professional experiences in the field of education, to her current role at the Migration Museum. When the previous Education Manager at the Migration Museum decided to take a short term secondment to another department in DECD, she was selected to fill her shoes.

That was a year ago. For many years I have walked past the Migration Museum and said that I would love to work here. My dream came true.

Day to Day

Madelena works with staff at the Migration Museum to present programs for visiting school groups, and on facilitating other forms of participation for students.

My role is to develop education programs that fit with the Australian Curriculum, are sound pedagogically  and make best use of the galleries of the Migration Museum. I’m also keen to encourage student voice and student participation where it is students that lead other students in the learning.

She has been working on range of education programs including Losing the Plot!, Refugee Week, NAIDOC Week, Behind the Wall and tailoring the permanent education programs to fit a variety of year levels and learning areas.  Engaging students to think critically about history and how history is presented is important to Madelena.Image: three children in school uniform gardening


Among the many highlights of her job Madelena says she enjoys working with students, research, learning new skills and knowledge and working with ‘a great team’. She has developed strong professional relationships with the other cultural institutes on North Terrace and is about to launch an education program that is in cooperation with the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Refugee Week this year was fascinating. Students from Thebarton Senior College presented their stories to primary aged school students. There was one session where the presenter from TSC was talking about his experiences in Iran and one of the year six school students attending the session was born in a city 150 kilometres away in Iran. They had a lovely chat. A new friendship sprang up in front of us all. I also enjoy supporting students to run sessions for the general public. Students’ voices are underrepresented and I am keen to support more programs where we have students providing their own interpretation of the museum. I also enjoy working with the Public Programs team and developing programs that link to lifelong learning.

Getting to know Madelena

Asked to share something her colleagues might not know about her Madelena’s response was:

Goodness! I think my colleagues know very little about me. Perhaps I should keep it that way!

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