Mental health & wellbeing
How can Guernsey Museums promote and support mental health and wellbeing?
We strive to offer:
Space to think. The origins of a Museum is somewhere to 'muse', to contemplate, think, consider, discuss and engage in meditation.
Escape. Museums are seen by some as an oasis of tranquillity away from normality. They can offer an escape from the current world (which may include pain and illness) and a journey into another place or time. They can also provide a window on the world, offering a sense of perspective.
A place to belong. One definition of a Museum is a 'collective memory of a time or place'*. Museums can establish and deepen a sense of community and belonging; they are memory banks that we all share and can act as an 'anchor for our mental health'*.
A sense of empathy. Learning about the past can help us understand others who lived before us. Empathising with other people is one of the most important social skills we can learn in life. It's this empathy and sense of perspective that can help people find their emotional place in the world.
Enjoyment. Museums have virtually nothing to sell except contemplation and enjoyment. They have long been places linked to pleasurable pursuits including art, poetry and philosophy.
Objects. This is one of the main assets Museums have. At Guernsey Museums we have over 40,000 objects. Some are not suitable for handling but some are. We have a dedicated handling collection which is shared with schools and any other visiting groups. Object handling can be beneficial to all people including young children, the elderly, the bedridden and people suffering from the scars of war like soldiers or refugees.
If you are interested in more information, a handling session or have any questions or suggestions about mental health at Guernsey Museums, please do get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or 01481 726518.
*These are quotes from the study 'Museums of the Mind' by Culture Unlimited (2008) which can be viewed online here.