Meet me at the Museum
Meet Me at the Museum, is a social group for older people that enables behind-the-scenes access to the Museum and collections. Meet Me at the Museum supports older people and those living with Dementia to be socially connected, creating opportunities for new conversations and learning together.
On this page: Armchair Gallery | Meet Me at the Museum | Meet Me and Flourish | Young Dementia UK and Beat It
City Arts (Nottingham) invited the museum to be part of Armchair Gallery, an app that enables visits to galleries and museums from the comfort of your armchair.
Staff from across the Museum were filmed talking about objects selected by the Meet Me at the Museum group for inclusion in the app.
Meet Me at the Museum
Meet Me at the Museum, is a social group for older people that enables behind-the-scenes access to the Museum and collections. Meet Me at the Museum supports older people and those living with Dementia to be socially connected, creating opportunities for new conversations and learning together. Inspired by Meet Me at Albany, an all-day arts club for people over 60 in Deptford, London, the Pitt Rivers Museum began piloting Meet Me at the Museum in May 2016, working with older people and those living with dementia to co-design the groups’ activity programme.
Since 2016, Meet Me at the Museum has engaged over 100 people and worked with organisations including the Creative Dementia and Arts Network (CDAN), Beat It Percussion, Age UK, Young Dementia UK (YDUK) and City Arts (Nottingham).
The Meet Me at the Museum team of older people have created animations, co-produced displays, composed and performed music in the galleries, taken iPad photographs of our favourite objects for an app and gone behind the scenes in the Museum.
Meet Me at the Museum and Flourish: Around the World in Our Treasures
Around the World in Our Treasures was our first six month programme with the Meet Me at the Museum group. Delivered in partnership with Oxford University Museum Partnership Reminiscence Officer, Helen Fountain, the VERVE Communities and Outreach Officer, Beth McDougall and digital artist, Charlie Henry, Around the World in our Treasures supported older people to learn about the collections whilst reflecting on their own world experiences.
Funded by the Creative Dementia Arts Network (CDAN), Charlie Henry’s artist residency was part of the Flourish programme which supports professional artists to develop their creative skills in working with people living with Dementia.
Over six monthly sessions Around the World in Our Treasures challenged older people to continue learning, not only new stories about unknown collections, but new ways to experiment with digital technology, working together to produce oral history recordings and co-produced stop animations.
Alongside personal objects, the animations formed part of a final exhibition that stimulated the group’s memories of travel and brought to life their experiences of the world around them.
Young Dementia UK and Beat It
In Autumn 2016, Meet Me at the Museum collaborated with Young Dementia UK (YDUK) and Beat it Percussion to co-produce compositions that reflected the life journeys of the participants. Young Dementia UK supports people living with early onset dementia who are under 65 years old, and can often feel isolated after receiving their diagnosis, to continue to thrive in their community.
Over six workshops, ten with a diagnosis of early onset dementia with their families and carers explored the permanent lifecycle displays at the museum. Each week we handled objects that demonstrate how important life stages are marked by communities across the world, connecting a young dementia diagnosis with another life step.
We wanted to mark this life step creatively and throughout the sessions we discussed how music can reconnect us to key life experiences and reflect our personalities. In later sessions, Lynn Kay, from Beat It Percussion CIC joined the group, introducing us to simple percussion rhythms and ways to express ourselves through sound. As many people’s dementia meant retaining complex rhythms and compositions would be a challenge, Lynn structured the compositions to facilitate improvisation whilst creating a group sound. At the end of the six weeks the group performed their improvised composition to friends, family and Museum staff.