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  • Can museums improve your health and wellbeing?

    By Jack Ashby, on 23 May 2013

    Patients at University College Hospital enjoying an object handling session

    Patients at University College Hospital enjoying an object handling session

    For several years a team of researchers in UCL Museums have been investigating the role of touch and object handling in health and wellbeing. A three year research project, Heritage in Hospitals, showed that museum object handling had significant benefits on patients’ wellbeing by improving mental and physical functioning, providing a positive experience during the hospital stay, and improving patient-doctor/carer communication.

    Taking it forward they are investigating the therapeutic value of handling museum objects. They’ve posted an article over on the London Museums Group blog. It begins…

    Can museums improve your health and wellbeing?

    This is a question we have been tackling here at UCL Museums. We’ve been interested in museums’ role in health and wellbeing for a while, so when we were awarded a 3-year research grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council we set about trying to answering the question: what is the therapeutic value of handling museum objects? We focused this research around hospitals and care homes, as traditionally museums have not worked particularly closely with these organisations.

    Approach (more…)

    Working [in Museums] Wednesdays #1

    By Edmund Connolly, on 22 May 2013

    Students and aspiring museum workers frequently ask about employment in the arts, so popular is this topic, I have now spoken about this at my old school and universities  (to varying levels of success). I am in no way a specialist, nor even a veteran, of this discipline, in fact the only reason I seem to get asked to do these things is because I am one of the most recent employees, thus, in theory, can recant what it was like for me.  A few visitng A-level students asked if I had any opinions on the merits of a single vs. a joint honours degree for working in museums; I may as well answer them here.

    I have 2 degrees, only the BA is a joint hons. proper (English and Classics) my Masters was multi-disciplinary (Comparative Art and Archaeology), so you can probably guess my opinion on the matter. I like joint honours. Arguably not such a ‘traditional’ degree, but they are a fantastic way to get more for your money (quantitatively speaking) and a unique take on both of the accredited disciplines.

    Advantage of joint honours: double graduation

    Advantage of joint honours: double graduation = double funny hat and Harry Potter robes

    (more…)

    Volunteer call out for Touching Heritage project

    By Betsy Lewis-Homes, on 27 March 2013

    Object Handling in the community

    Object Handling in the community

    If you are someone who is passionate about heritage, interested in health and wellbeing, and keen to volunteer in an innovative heritage-in-health project – we want to hear from you!

    UCL Museums and Public Engagement is looking for a group of volunteers to take part in the Touching Heritage project, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

    The programme aims to widen participation in cultural activities by taking museum objects out to healthcare communities that would otherwise be excluded from museum activities. One-to-one and group sessions led by facilitators will focus on the cultural, social and natural diversity of the objects in relation to participants’ own health and wellbeing. The experience will be enhanced by touching and handling objects traditionally associated with health and wellbeing, and by discussing how the objects feel, what they are made of or whether they resonate in other ways with participants. (more…)