National Museums Northern Ireland
Live Well reaches out to people who don’t normally visit museums, supporting active ageing through social engagement and new learning. More than 100 groups have enjoyed six-week outreach programmes – five weeks within communities and one supported museum visit – followed up by monthly open afternoons.
At the core of Live Well are collections, creativity and active engagement. Groups choose what collections to explore, though many find that “you discover an interest that you didn’t know you had”, as one participant said. Creativity offers a way of approaching collections and involving people.
People tell us they’ve learned new things. They’re proud of what they’ve achieved, feel more confident and have been able to contribute.
“By using the 5 Ways to Wellbeing – keep learning, connect, take notice, be active and give – as a checklist, we keep a focus on wellbeing and active participation,” says Hannah Crowdy, the head of curatorial at National Museums Northern Ireland. “People tell us they’ve learned new things. They’re proud of what they’ve achieved, feel more confident and have been able to contribute. They look forward to sessions and feel more positive afterwards.
“There’s an impact on communities too. Groups get to know each other better and people talk to family and friends outside the sessions about what they’ve done. We evaluate with every participant and have shared our learning through partnerships with Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums and six local museums.”
As one participant said, being part of the programme made them feel more positive: “Part of a community, more knowledgeable, eager to learn.”
Another reflected: “We helped each other. We had a laugh about our efforts and shared our skills and knowledge and strengths.”