Doncaster heritage team want you to create and share your own Living Room Museum
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The idea is to bring people together by celebrating a shared history of happiness and memories, ahead of the opening of the new DANUM Gallery, Library and Museum later this year.
Although created in response to the stress experienced by many during the current crisis, the Heritage Doncaster project is part of a wider initiative to help combat social isolation.
This is something experienced by many people in the region all year round, but which is currently a hot topic as people stay home with little other human contact during the Covid-19 crisis.
The curators are inviting members of the public to share the stories of possessions that are on display in their own homes, from quirky family heirlooms to souvenirs of holidays past that have become part of their home decor, which have happy memories associated with them.
“We all have personal possessions that tell a story – perhaps it carries memories of the person who gave it to you, or it’s not quite what it seems, or reminds you of a very special moment.
“The monetary value may be irrelevant, but if it makes you smile when you see it or think about it, then it’s a treasure.
“That’s what we’re trying to capture with the Living Room Museum; everyday objects that bring a sense of joy,” said programme manager for Heritage Doncaster, Victoria Ryves.
“Museums collect objects that tell a story of a time and place, and we are encouraging people to look for similar stories in their own homes whilst they can’t visit a museum in person.”
Anyone – and everyone – is invited to participate by taking a photograph of items and then writing a museum label of around 25 words for each, telling the story of what makes the item special.
“Looking around most living rooms, you’ll see plenty of items that lend themselves to this – from clocks and pictures to ornaments and vases,” added Victoria.
All of the items submitted will be added to an online gallery.
The curators are hoping to be able to borrow a few of the most fascinating pieces submitted for exhibiting as part of local community display when the new museum opens later this year.
More detail on the Living Room Museum project can be found at www.heritagedoncaster.org.uk/heritage-at-home/livingroommuseum, with participants invited to send their pictures and words to [email protected], or through Twitter and Facebook @DoncasterMuseum.
The team behind the project also delivers other initiatives designed to reduce social isolation, under the History, Health & Happiness banner.
This new pioneering project by Heritage Doncaster is supported by Arts Council England and uses museum collections to improve wellness in the community they serve.
Within days of social distancing being announced, the team established Facebook chat groups and virtual sessions for people experiencing social isolation, including mums with young children, and have also created resource packs for local care homes.
“Issues of isolation and connectedness have never been more relevant, or important. We have been working on activities to combat isolation for over a year,” said Victoria.
“Until recent times, most of us had no idea what it felt like to be isolated – spending hours, even days without talking to another human being. Now, these projects are more relevant than ever – for all us.”
“Our work to tackle social isolation and encourage connectedness will only become more relevant as we recover from Covid-19,” she added.
“For most people social isolation is temporary, but for many it will remain as their norm.”