We have just started an exciting project to expand our offer in order to better meet the needs of people living in the community, particularly those who may be living with dementia. This project will see us create ‘reminiscence boxes’ and also an additional resource: an ‘object dialogue box’.
On Thursday 4th July, Museum staff, volunteers, library staff, health care professionals, residents from nearby care homes as well as people living with dementia and their carers joined together at the Museum to discuss with Anne Sherman, Arts Officer for Health and Older People and Karl Foster, an artist, to discuss what kind of resources and services the Museum might be able to offer to people with dementia. We found that some of the objects from the Museum store could be particularly helpful.
Karl Foster of Hedsor has a wealth of experience of creating object dialogue boxes and examples of his work can be found at Manchester Art Gallery and the Imperial War Museum. The objects created were inspired by the Museum’s collection and are designed to promote conversation and exploration.
As an illustration, he showed us an object he had made, and asked us to think about how it made us feel. Some of the exercises were mysterious but very effective.
Following Thursday’s workshop, Karl is now going away to create some objects. They will be unusual, yet will have a connection to the collection and a link to items on permanent display. The Museum will be using the time until these objects are completed in September to think about what exactly we will be able to offer and to take part in more training.
The Museum has found that there is scope to use the Museum’s collection to provide worthwhile experiences for people living with dementia. This project will demonstrate to similar size museums and organisations how large scale national projects and initiatives can be adapted with more modest resources. Other projects which have been taking place across the country includes The House of Memories, which was developed at Liverpool Museum, and more locally a project that has just started at Bridgend Community Centre.
Object Dialogue Box – website by Karl Foster