Key Memories: Recollections of My First Home involved five local museums, five residential care homes and five community groups in Cambridgeshire.
For many people, the first home they remember living in can inspire strong emotions and vivid recollections. The project worked with people of all ages and backgrounds to produce a unique touring exhibition of home life from the 1950s onwards. “The home is a common theme,” explains the Project Manager. “It covers everyone from older people who set up home in the 1950s to migrants coming to this country to start a new life.”
National Lottery funding brought in a trainer to ensure that staff and volunteers at the participating museums involved could facilitate 'reminiscence' sessions. Each museum used its social history collections to create a unique reminiscence box full of objects such as recipe books, kitchen tools and knitting patterns, to inspire a wide range of memories. These boxes were then given to local care homes and community centres for special sessions.
Care home residents and community group members attended tea parties together, encouraging people of different ages and backgrounds to come together and share their recollections. The project culminated in the recording of an oral history CD and an exhibition that travelled to all the participating locations, from museums to care home foyers. Styled as a 1950s kitchen cabinet and full of period artefacts, the exhibition was designed to act as a memory prompt itself.