Museums and memories go hand and hand! It’s not uncommon for visitors to The County Museums to comment about the artifacts on display and make their own connections to those items. Sometimes it’s reminiscing about personal experiences, or surmising what situations may have been like for a parent or grandparent’s generation.
The most recent Strategic Plan for The County Museums encouraged the museum system to develop community partnerships around different themes, including heath & wellness. One opportunity that arose was a chance to partner with HJ McFarland Memorial Home in Picton to create a series of “Reminiscence Kits” that could be used in programming at that specific location, but also with other facilities and programs that support seniors throughout Prince Edward County. These kits will be significant to seniors of all abilities, including those who are challenged with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
In the Spring of 2016, The County Museums made an application for a Seniors Community Grant through the Government of Ontario and was successful in receiving $8000 to create five distinct reminiscence kits, which would be researched, designed and constructed by a student employee-thereby fostering an intergenerational approach to the project.
“We want seniors in Ontario to fully participate in their communities. The Seniors Community Grant program encourages this by supporting hundreds of projects focussed on volunteerism, learning, social inclusion and physical activity.”
– Dipika Damerla, Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs
Summer Student Roanna Kitchen was hired for the 2016 Museum Season to work on this project. She focused on the era of the 1930s-1950s and concentrated on the following themes while gathering key artifacts and other educational collections for the kits:
Childhood Toys & Games
Music & Entertainment
On the Farm
Memories of Main Street
“This was an amazing opportunity to learn more about the past and understand both the differences and similarities of people, now and then,” says Roanna. She took particular pleasure in including objects that appealed to multiple senses, including visual, auditory (i.e. music), smell, taste and touch.
The remainder of the year will be spent putting the final touches on the kits, program scripts and guidelines. “We are very excited to be rolling out this series of reminiscence kits for 2017,” says Head Curator Jennifer Lyons. “We appreciate the relevance of launching this program in a most historic year, Canada’s Sesquicentennial.” Tammy Doxtator-Jones, Resident Services Manager at H.J McFarland Memorial Home, adds that “We look forward to working with museum staff to offer these programs to our residents, giving them an opportunity to view and handle historic objects, share memories and connect with other program participants.”
For more information please contact Jennifer Lyons, Head Curator of The County Museums at 613.476.2148 ext.2521 or email@example.com.