Museums and Wellbeing

Andy Ford

The National Alliance for Museums, Health and Wellbeing was established in 2015. It was formed at a time when the sector was increasingly interested in the health and wellbeing agenda and how to get involved.

For museums already undertaking this work we provided a way to raise the profile of what sometimes could be hidden activity. We mapped existing provision in the sector in order to understand the ways this work was being defined. We found that activity was mainly focussed around working with people with specific needs. The top three audiences were older people, people living with dementia and people with mental health issues. Activities included everything from creative sessions, object handling and mindfulness.

Organisations with sports-based collections have also implemented this work including Mansfield Museum. This initially came out of their sport-based exhibition in 2012 which coincided with Mansfield Leisure Trust’s aim to get more people active. In partnership they delivered drop-in taster sessions which now form part of their Feel Good Fridays. This partnership has been mutually beneficial as the Trust can access people who wouldn’t traditionally take part in sport and the museum can offer a different type of activity.

Like Mansfield we found that the most successful provision takes place when museums view wellbeing as part of their core aims and work in partnership with health and third sector organisations to deliver sustainable activity. Museums are also reframing other provision using the five ways to wellbeing to define their work and support all their visitors. Watch Justine Reilly’s webinar to find out more about this work.

For more information please visit the following links:


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