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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


Introducing Museums and Wellbeing

By Maria Patsou, on 22 October 2015

Hallo! My name is Maria and I am the research assistant for the National Alliance of Museums, Health and Wellbeing based at UCL PACE. Funded by Arts Council England, we’ve launched the Alliance so that information about museums and health can be shared and to provide support for those individuals and organisations working in this area of activity. My main role is to map existing practice, literature, reports and evaluation on health & wellbeing activities in the museum sector in the UK. I also carry out research into health and social care structures and identify key contacts for museum people. I am having an amazing time in this role as I get to work on the wider categories of arts, culture and health, which I have been specialising on for the past few years, through clinical and academic work.

My object at the Horniman Museum. A tiny Greek Orthodox priest.

My object at the Horniman Museum. A tiny Greek Orthodox priest.

Late September was very exciting for museums and wellbeing. I participated in a Horniman Museum training on the use of museum objects for creativity and learning. While going through the Hands-on Base gallery, I accidentally bumped into a Greek Orthodox priest miniature (Picture 1).


Call for volunteers: Touching Heritage

By Nicholas Vogelpoel, on 6 August 2012

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!
Patient in object-handling session © UCL Museums and Public Engagement

UCL Museums and Public Engagement is looking for a new group of volunteers to take part in the Touching Heritage project, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. The new programme aims to widen participation in cultural activities by taking museum objects out to hospitals and other healthcare communities that would otherwise be excluded from museum activities (e.g., residential care homes). 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.

We are currently seeking volunteers to train as facilitators of museum object handling sessions, and then to co-ordinate object handling sessions in hospitals, care homes and other healthcare environments as part of the project. (more…)

Healing Heritage Exhibition

By Linda Thomson, on 9 August 2011

‘Healing Heritage’ depicts the outcomes of a three-year study into the therapeutic benefits of taking museum objects to the bedsides of hospital patients and health care residents. Over 250 participants handled and discussed selections of museum objects with a facilitator in sessions that lasted around 40 minutes. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the results of the study are explored in a public exhibition now showing in UCL’s North Lodge (just North of the UCL Main Gate in Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT). The exhibition explores the way the research was carried out and what participants thought about the activity and the objects. As a result of museum object handling, participants were distracted from their clinical surroundings and showed increases in levels of psychological wellbeing and happiness. The exhibition dates have been extended until 16th August so if you happen to be passing, do take advantage of this unique opportunity to look at some of the innovative research carried out at UCL. The exhibition is free, has wheelchair access and is open to the public, 9am to 5pm (weekdays only). For further information contact: linda.thomson@ucl.ac.uk