Our reminiscence visits to care homes and memory cafes are currently on hold, but we’d like to share the experience of a recent one with you.

The museum volunteers were invited to visit the Nailsea memory cafe.  This was actually their 3rd visit which proves that they do a fantastic job!

They took out the seaside and holiday themed memory box, full of goodies such as old cameras, postcards, tourist brochures and souvenirs. They were even treated to volunteer Joyce’s splendid recorder playing!

Here’s what Karen, the group leader had to say afterwards:

“The fan sparked conversations of Spanish holidays bringing back straw donkeys and hats.  Some members of the group used them to fan themselves and others. Who’d have thought that an old travel iron could start a discussion? A former army wife remembered having to iron 5 shirts a week and sometimes more if her husband was going out in the evening. She had to polish all the brass buttons too. A couple of people held up the cameras and ‘took photographs’ of each other whilst the others smiled and laughed.  Others acted out a puppet show using Punch and Judy!”

I think this shows the power of ephemera and artefacts to provoke discussion.  Reminiscence really helps people living with dementia to remember things from when they were younger.  This is so important as it stimulates the brain and helps with well being.

Thank you Karen and the Nailsea memory cafe. We hope that there will be more visits to come!

By Jane Hill, Museum Community Liaison Officer