MUSEUMS AND ITS LINK TO WELLBEING
Studies have shown that museums can promote wellbeing within the mental health community, in my local museum they are running an art group two days a week for those whom suffer differing mental health disorders and learning difficulties.
Here is a summary of our own art group how it’s run and what the clients get from going each week.
Museum Mentors – Project Overview 2016
Museum Mentors is a project developed within the Royal Pavilion & Museums establishment.
Funding is provided by the Arts Council, England’s Renaissance Programme.
The project supports up to 30 adults, individuals identified as being vulnerable or having specific social care needs. Many members of the group have experience of social isolation.
The project aims to promote diversity, give value, opportunity, choice and independence to all involved.
Members have been supported to access a huge range of opportunities within Royal Pavilion and Museums. Studies of collections & objects prove a great source of inspiration & motivation for all involved.
The project aims to; promote diversity, give value, opportunity, choice and independence to all involved.
There is focus to facilitate individual and collective; skills, abilities, strengths,
originality, styles, and ideas.
Allow for a wide range of explorative, experimental and creative methods, support emerging and developing creativity – all within a therapeutic nurturing environment.
- Provide safe space for positive experiences.
- Further promoting; increased wellbeing, social connection, increased confidence and self-esteem.
- Project work is underpinned by very specific policies, procedures and systems, i.e. Confidentiality policy, Members Agreement, Lone Working policy, robust risk management and more…
Partnership Project opportunities
Museum Mentors supports volunteer learning placements, mentoring placements & group work opportunities, opening doors to:
- new skills
- new perspectives and knowledge relating to diversity within community
- a wider understanding of stigma associated with disability
- a better understanding of social inclusion
- a better understanding of inclusive practise and inclusive attitudes
- new ways to value and promote those considered vulnerable
- opportunity & freedom to develop creative abilities
- a wider understanding of group & diverse team working
Members are keen to learn, keen to be valued and recognised as contributing citizens.
Members work in many mediums, creating: artwork, poetry, collections, installations, exhibitions…
Activities to date:
Art studies – collections objects & stories Ceramics
Public Exhibitions & Events to date
Brighton Artists Open House
Beyond the Mantelpiece – An artistic installation, a direct creative response to The Willett Collection, located within The Willett’s Gallery Brighton Museum.
Beyond The Mantelpiece – A group film animation production facilitated in partnership with Annis Joslin & Museum Mentors, Brighton Museum.
A thoughtful exhibition that goes ‘Beyond the Mantelpiece
You can watch the video here on YouTube
Brighton Museum – Museum Mentors Pop Up Christmas Shop
Brighton Foyer at The Dome – Museum Mentors Pop Up Christmas Shop
Activities for the future:
Eiffion & his collection. courtesy of my museum project coordinator
Joining the project April 2014, sharing a passion for collections and antique objects.
Eiffion expressed a need to engage in activity that would support and enable his mental health recovery.
We work with Eiffion via mentoring and weekly sessions. His vast collection of antique bulldogs has become a hugely positive focus; Eiffion has linked with the Museums Curating Team. He has developed knowledge of classifying and recording objects, he has developed a broad understanding of what Museums and Collections can offer. He has been able to draw positive ideas and experiences from historical
objects and links to the past, nurturing some healing of mental health traumas lived in childhood….’my collection is my therapy…’ Eiffion likens his collection to a healing medicine.
Eiffion has identified great interest amongst a world of collectors, experts, amateurs & novices alike.
His attention to detail and his high standards of curatorial knowledge are key, these qualities have driven the development of the collection and the website. Initially a few objects in 2010 to a vast 3000 or more) objects today. Eiffion has developed a great understanding of conservation and the benefits of preserving objects and stories from the past.
It was Eiffion’s idea and wish that one day, his collection is exhibited and open to members of the public. We are currently collaborating to develop, to one day showcase Britain’s first Bulldog Pop Up Museum.
Authentic happiness and museums
In his book Authentic Happiness (2000), the American positive psychologist Martin Seligman wrote that ‘we would be a far more successful society if we enabled mental wellness rather than concentrating efforts on treating mental illness’. He talks of stages of happiness:
New evidence shows Museums have a part in contributing to peoples wellbeing and what those without a mental health diagnosis refer to as ‘happy’ feelings. Wellbeing and Museums is a new emerging sector of which we are very proud to be part.
What it means to me
I have been a participant client in the museum mentors art group for around two
years now, with the other other clients we sit drink tea and do creative things either together in small groups or individual projects, my latest work has been upcycling bulldog figurines as art isn’t my biggeststrong points.
The art group has become more than just a couple of hours painting ceramics I can take any issues I may have and the mentors do their best to help me out whether it’s a chat or helping me establish contact with other services. I guess the studies into all this must be correct because on a good week there I do lose my troubles for a couple of hours.
I plan on trying harder to get there more next year I’ve had some personal hardships so haven’t been as frequent as I would of liked but it’s a new year coming so let’s see what it brings, thank you to my mentor for explaining why I go and hope it helps to explain a little about the positive aspects for all at museums.
or feel free to check out our own antiques Antique bulldog Galleries and thank you all for taking a MUSE.