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National Museums and Wellbeing Week

Our Community Engagement Coordinator Jess Croll-Knight talks about wellness and the role that museums play in their local community.

This week we are celebrating the second National Museums and Wellbeing Week from 6 – 12 March 2017, coordinated by the National Alliance for Museums, Health & Wellbeing.

The Community Engagement team are proud to work with a range of local organisations and services that provide mental health and wellbeing support for people. These partnerships really help us understand how the Collections and Gardens can help enrich and support positive wellbeing for people who visit the Horniman. This might include opportunities to be active and social, to try or learn something new, use objects in multi-sensory and creative ways, or just relax and have fun in a different environment. 

All sorts of activities happen at the Horniman that support positive wellbeing. Here is a snapshot of what is happening this week.

We are running projects with a range of partners, including the Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre ‘Whatever’ Project, Redstart Arts and Three C’s, to create new discovery boxes. The boxes contain a selection of objects from our Handling Collection, based around a theme that is relevant to them. They are aimed at families and groups who are exploring the Hands on Base. To create the boxes, group members take the lead in choosing a theme and decide which objects go in their box. This helps develop skills working with Museum objects, sharing interests and experiences with each other, taking part in creative activities, and ultimately creating a resource that will be used by visitors to the Horniman for years to come. The Horniman are welcoming

This week we are also welcoming Pan Intercultural Arts to the Horniman, who work supporting self-expression and empowerment with a young refugee arts group.

Elliot Bank School’s Museum Club will be back again this week learning about the Museum's collections and Gardens through art and crafts. And the Horniman Youth Panel, who also meet each week, play an important role in decision-making and getting young people’s voices heard at the Horniman. 

We are really excited to have started a project with local families learning English as another language with ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). They are helping to create interpretation panels (the labels you read in galleries) for the new World Gallery and Studio. The sessions are a chance for people to be sociable and practice language skills in a different environment, but also to play an active and critical role in making the Horniman a welcoming place for all families in the local community.

Crossing Borders also takes place this week. We are asking people to join us in celebrating the diversity of our Forest Hill neighbourhood and the people that live here, through storytelling, art and craft activities and immersive theatre performances. This annual event is a collaboration between organisations and individuals who work with local refugees and asylum seekers. Everyone is welcome so come along on Saturday 11 March.

Finally, we welcome the Raise the Roof Community Choir which provides an uplifting opportunity for people to explore music together.

Museums and gardens are an amazing resource for feeling well and happy, being active and taking part in activities. We hope the Horniman can continue building on all of this work and help promote the wellbeing of our community and all our visitors.

Have a look at the Wheel of Wellbeing for more inspiration!