Happy Museum commissions six projects

Story Museum and Cinema Museum among recipients of £60,000 fund
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Rebecca Atkinson
The Happy Museum Project has awarded grants totalling £60,000 to six museums and galleries to fund projects promoting wellbeing.

The recipients are:

  • Manchester Museum for The Playful Museum
  • Lightbox in Woking, Surrey, for Landscapes of the Mind
  • The Cinema Museum, London, for Creative Community Curators
  • London Transport Museum for The Conversation Hub
  • Godalming Museum, Waverley, for Collecting Connections
  • The Story Museum, Oxford, for Happy from the Beginning

The Happy Museum Project, which is funded through the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Breakthrough Fund, aims to highlight the potential of museums to play a more significant role in creating a happier and more sustainable society.

The six commissioned works drew inspiration from a manifesto for wellbeing written by the New Economics Foundation and leading museum commentators. The projects will be presented at a two-day symposium next January.

Updates about the projects will also be available online on the Happy Museum website (www.happymuseumproject.org).

Tony Butler, director of the Museum of East Anglian Life and the Happy Museum, said: “Environmental change, pressures on the planet’s finite resources and awareness that a good, happy society need not set economic growth as it most meaningful measure offers a chance to re-imagine the purpose of museums.

"Museums should realise their role as connectors, viewing people not as audiences but as collaborators, not as beneficiaries but citizens and stewards who nurture and pass on knowledge to their friends and neighbours.”


The Lightbox in Woking, Surrey, received the largest grant of £17,000 for its project, Landscapes of the Mind, which will explore the museum as a healing environment with a group of participants with mental health problems.

£14,500 was awarded to the London Transport Museum for the Conversation Hub, which will work with homeless charity St Mungo’s to create a social enterprise engaging individuals as volunteers on museum community projects.

Manchester Museum was awarded £8,925 for the Playful Museum, which will promote and explore undirected free play in the museum to enhance wellbeing and the happiness of children and families.

Godalming Museum, a community museum in Waverley, was awarded £7,000 for Collecting Connections. Local initiatives in the field of sustainability and community building will look at past ways of life and current ideas and hopes for a sustainable way of living.

The £6,575 award to the Cinema Museum, based in the Lambeth Workhouse, London, will invite local people to explores its collection and become community curators in its project, Creative Community Curators.

Finally, the Story Museum in Oxford was awarded £6,000 for Happy from the Beginning, which will test-drive the principles of wellbeing through programmers, designers and architects involved in the design phase of this new international museum, due to open in 2014.


Click here to view the Happy Museum paper (pdf)

Click here to visit the Happy Museum website

Click here to view the MA’s sustainability work

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