Jamtli museum, Sweden - Museums Association

Jamtli museum, Sweden

Open-air museums and mental health patients
Anna Hansen
Since 2009, the Jamtli open-air museum in Ostersund, Sweden, has worked with the unit for rehabilitation from mental health issues at the local hospital, called K2.

A group from K2 has visited the museum one afternoon a week to participate in work around our 19th-century farm, such as brushing cows, carrying hay, pulling potatoes or using the horse and carriage.

An important part of the activities is that the tasks carried out are real, which makes the participants feel useful and needed. In order not to create any pressure or stress for the participants, it has been emphasised that if they don’t finish the work a member of staff will step in. .

Recently, evaluation has shown that the project has improved participants’ self esteem and social skills, while also increasing their knowledge of agriculture and animals. They are more away of how to use body language to show confidence, which is necessary around animals.

They say that their happiness, motivation, wellbeing and health have also improved.

Some of them even say that Jamtli saved their lives by giving them back the will to live and purpose of life.

The calm environment with beautiful historical buildings, no mobile phones and the opportunities to learn about nature, culture and history has inspired comments from participants such as “you feel happier when you leave than when you got there”.

The evaluation report is published in Swedish at Nordic Centre of Heritage Learning and Creativity website.

Anna Hansen is the managing director of the Nordic Centre of Heritage Learning and Creativity

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