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Visitor Voices: Childhood 1
Visitor Voices: Childhood 1

Visitor Voices: Childhood 1

Is childhood a modern invention? A series of casual Socratic discussions explores childhood and coming of age in the ancient and modern worlds.

Event Information

17 Aug 2024, 12:40 pm – 1:55 pm

Hellenic Museum, 280 William St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia


Childhood 1: Is childhood a modern invention?

French historian Philippe Aries asserted that before the 17th century, children were thought of as miniature adults. What, then, was childhood like in the ancient world and how does it compare to our experiences today? In ancient times, surviving childhood was no small feat. Infant mortality was so high that Greek parents did not name a child until it had survived beyond ten days, natural dangers were plentiful, and child abandonment and slavery were common. There were rules to govern proper child rearing but, just as there are a breadth of modern parenting approaches today, there was no single experience of childhood. This symposium session will discuss the social concept of childhood, its evolution through time, and how we should create the conditions for children to experience their youth.


About Visitor Voices

The ancient Greeks were known for their love of getting together in a relaxed environment, breaking bread and arguing about philosophy, politics and the meaning of life. Inspired by these ancient symposia, Visitor Voices invites you to explore some of life's age-old questions from a modern perspective, in a casual group environment.

On the third Saturday of every month, Museum staff will guide participants through a Socratic-style discussion among a small group, unleashing your inner philosopher and creating a dialogue between institution and visitor. In 2024 we will explore four major themes – Conflict and Humanity, Law and Freedom, Childhood and Getting Social – with each theme explored over 2–3 sessions, and every session centred around a different question. There's no prior knowledge required, just a sense of curiosity!

Tickets include Museum general admission before or after the session. Please note, due to the discussion of mature themes, this program is recommended for ages 15 and older.

Next session: Sat 14 September – Childhood 2

To explore other themes and available sessions, see the Visitor Voices hub.


  • General Admission

    From $28.00 to $35.00
    • $35.00
      +$0.88 service fee
    • $28.00
      +$0.70 service fee



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