Reminiscence and memory work

From Our Toolkit

Reminiscence is about the sharing of life experiences, stories and memories from the past. Heritage organisations are well placed to offer reminiscence sessions as objects and the material they hold often invoke the recollections of past events.

Shown to be beneficial to people’s health and wellbeing, heritage and sporting organisations can offer the opportunity for people to remember things from the past.

Sporting Heritage’s Memories Handbook offers a step-by-step guide to engaging people through their memories with your collections. Sporting memories are often powerful as they are link to strong emotions.

There are many examples of reminiscence work taking place in sporting heritage organisations:

Social prescribing

Heritage organisations are also starting to explore and offer activities that patients can be referred to as part of the social prescribing.

“The term ‘social prescribing’ is used largely in relation to primary care (general practice). It describes the practice of referring patients to social activities instead of or as complementary to more ‘conventional’ forms of medicine”

Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance

The Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance has useful resources page exploring social prescribing what heritage organisations can offer.  Arts Council England also has a pages on its website providing examples of social prescribing in practice.

Sources of useful information

London Art in Health Forum is a useful resource to support you when developing activity. The resources and news sections are a good source of examples of work taking place across the cultural sector.

Cultural Health and Wellbeing Alliance has a wealth of resources, including examples of best practice, toolkits and fact sheets relating to health and well-being in heritage organisations, with specific resources relating to developing activities for people with dementia in a heritage setting.

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