In June 2015 we embarked on an in-depth 5 year study with a small group of museums, investigating the impact of wellbeing and sustainability on individual, organisational and community resilience.

The museums are brought together in a dynamic programme of action research and supported peer learning, underpinned by an evaluation and research programme using the LIFE methodology (research focused on Learning, Interaction, Feelings and Environmental care).

Participating museums are:

The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge

Being part of the Happy Museum has acted as a catalyst for new ways of thinking at the Beaney, placing sustainability and wellbeing at the core of their organization. Through participating in this study the Beaney will be able to focus on sustainability as they continue to develop the £7 million HLF project that has refreshed and revitalised the museum.

The Lightbox

The Lightbox is striving to be a museum and gallery that don’t just record social developments, as might a supposedly impartial historian, but rather want to be pro-active in seeking solutions to the challenges we face today. The Lightbox see Happy Museum principles as a key part of strengthening valuable two way dialogues with local communities. Through participating in the study they hope to become a leading resource for sustainability and wellbeing and gain a clearer grasp of how to measure the impact of their work, whilst to learning from other organisations on the programme.

Derby Museums

Derby Museums was previously awarded Happy Museum funding for their Re:Make the Museum project, an innovative project that put the regeneration of the Silk Mill in the hands of the local community. Following on from this project, co-production has been embedded as a core ethos at Derby. Broadening participation with the public has benefited the displays in the museum and the well being of participants. Derby Museums cause is to expand the perception of what a museum is and can be. Derby has over 300 years of Industrial Heritage and innovation is central to the narrative of the city. The collections at Derby enable a unique critical discourse around the context of scientific discovery, the ‘taming’ natural world and dependence on fossil fuels.

Manchester Museum

This project comes at an important time for the Manchester Museum as they reposition themselves as a campaigner for a more sustainable world. Manchester Museum will build on the active citizenship of previous projects such as the Happy Museum funded Playful Museum, the Museum Allotment and new Living World Galleries. By participating in the study, the Manchester Museum will be able to learn and reflect on the ongoing process of reshaping their vision and campaigning for change. As a university museum they have an important responsibility to experiment and engage with complex ‘big ideas’, therefore by being part of the Happy Museum community of practice Manchester Museum can share and test bold ideas over the next five years and take time to evaluate, whilst drawing the wider museum and academic community into the mix.

Woodhorn Charitable Trust

The Trust adopted a new mission and vision 3 years ago which reframed the role of the trust in relation to its communities and place. Over the last three years we have taken opportunities to embed this new thinking through a series of externally funded projects and in our public programming.  This work has created a number of exemplars in how the Trust can, through working with other organisations and partners play a much fuller role in the life of the community and support resilience, well-being and confidence and creating a much greater relevance and understanding of the role that heritage, arts and culture can play. We are now keen to see how we can continue to embed these principles in more of our core activity and right across our organisation.

Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth

Ceredigion’s participation in the 5-year Study is supported by HLF through it’s funding for a New Approaches Project, creating a new street level entrance for the museum, a state of the art Tourist Information Centre, an improved shop with a wider range of products from local suppliers and a café franchise for a local business offering locally produced food.  The focus and evaluation of this project will be on Happy Museum Principles with the aim that local pride, ownership, belonging and a sense of place are generated through the museum collections generating participation in and dialogue about local, regional, national and global life.  The Museum seeks to protect the cultural and natural heritage of Mid Wales and through our collection, to foster people’s sense of interconnection through the universally relevant, human stories contained within.