The Story Museum, Happy From the Beginning, March 2013-present

The Story Museum works to celebrate and demonstrate the power of stories to inspire learning, especially for the young. They use storytelling to improve language skills and confidence; since 2005 they have been piloting programmes in schools that reached 10,000 children a year, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

In ‘Happy From the Beginning’ the Happy Museum worked with The Story Museum as they designed their fledgling museum. Happy Museum principles and well-being measures were test-driven by programmers, designers and architects in order to create a museum space that would actively promote wellbeing and sustainability from day one.

Read more about the project in the Case Study – Wellbeing and Sustainability from the beginning   Measuring what matters was at the core of the project with experimental tools like mood tree and happy tracker and embedding evaluation in the heart of the exhibition

The project worked to put wellbeing and sustainability at the heart of the museums design it used playful aesthetics and experimented with art and mischief

Eyebomb padlock

Eyebomb padlock

There was a strong focus on volunteer wellbeing, creating heritage story guides and working with wellbeing of schoolchildren


The project vision was to ensure that Story Museum staff and main partners explicitly adopted wellbeing and sustainability as key elements of the museum from the beginning.  This ensured that the building and programmes  implicitly and explicitly addressed wellbeing and sustainability, resulting in long term service that will improve people’s lives.

Highlights included the team expreimenting intelligently with wellbeing management – measured in a way that itself supports wellbeing – for staff and audience. Mood Trees,  Happy Tracker and individual stories of change being examples.  The museum also secured HLF funding for ‘Intangible heritage, tangible skills’.

Challenges included a small team who were over-stretched by the  resource-demanding project.