A knitting pattern used by Edinburgh Museums and Galleries in a session with prisoners at HMP Edinburgh

Edinburgh Museums and Galleries

Diana Morton , 15.04.2013
Edinburgh Museums and Galleries outreach service works to enable participation in museum activities for those who, for whatever reason, do not already access museum resources. This includes community groups across the city.  
The outreach service developed sessions with the library at HMP Edinburgh. The library works with prisoners to engage them with learning activities to assist with rehabilitation. It was felt that museum objects would help engage learners and bring their topics to life.

Working with prisons was a new initiative for the museums, so two pilot sessions were run that involved using museum collections to facilitate discussion with learners.

The first session consisted of a handling session with the book group using world war two objects to facilitate discussion about different experiences of wartime life. This then enabled a deeper understanding of the book they were studying, which was set during wartime.

The second session explored topics of health and wellbeing through a discussion of health, beauty and fashion objects from the past and how these relate to how we look after ourselves now.

Feedback from the pilot sessions was very positive and we hope to run a longer, more in-depth project with HMP Edinburgh in the future.

Diana Morton is the outreach and access manager at Edinburgh Museums and Galleries