Armchair Museum

Posted on by Lauren MacCarthy.

by Nicole Mawby, MA Curating placement

Armchair Museum reimagines the way in which people read art, artefacts and heritage. Over the last year, I have been working with the Engagement and Participation team as part of my MA in Curating while being mentored by Finn White, Engagement Officer for Communities.

A man with a beard sniffing a miniature cube of tea designed to look like Ai Weiwei's Ton of TeaAs part of my final project, I have developed a loan box that encourages conversations, imagination and reminiscence by using the collections at Bristol Museums along with scents, textures, tastes and sounds.

Armchair Museum has been designed to be used by people with low level mental health issues and at early stages of dementia, but through testing, I have realised it has the potential to be beneficial to anyone.

By using sensory question prompts to guide conversations between users, Armchair Museum provides an opportunity to drift off into talking about personal experiences before finding out the factual information about the piece. By finding a relatable, personal connection to art enables users to interpret what they’re looking at on a deeper level.

It was an interesting way of opening up a discussion, provoking memories and ideas that ranged from the practical and technical in one group, to the conceptual and abstract in another. Thought provoking!
– Feedback from participant at Art Shed

It made me think more about what I could really see in the picture I had and it made me realise that I don’t usually look at anything in detail! I will from now on. It was a good escape from my own thoughts, which are not happy ones at the moment. It was a nice release for a while.
– Feedback from participant at Art Shed

Please get in touch to find out more or if you’d like discuss loaning Armchair Museum
[email protected]

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