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South Shields Museum and Art Gallery

At the very heart of its community, South Shields Museum celebrates the rich heritage of South Tyneside and the people who shaped it. The building that South Shields Museum & Art Gallery currently occupies has had a long and interesting past. It was constructed in 1860 as a home for the South Shields Literary, Mechanical and Scientific Institution. In 1873 the building became the town’s first free Public Library and Reading rooms and it opened as a museum in 1876. The museum is spread over two floors telling the story of the borough's social, industrial and maritime history from 4,000 years ago to the present day through a range of displays, exhibitions and nationally significant works of art. On the ground floor you can get closer to the collection and treasures of South Tyneside. There's also Creature Corner, home to our resident reptiles and insects, the shop and a small cafe, the Victorian Pantry, serving a range of hot and cold refreshments. Up on the first floor is the temporary gallery which holds regular exhibitions and Art Adventrue, our interactive gallery displaying paintings by artists such as Scott, Carmichael and Hemy.

16 November 2015
North East
Local Alliances:
North East Dementia Alliance, South Tyneside Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

We would like to ensure that our museum is as dementia friendly as possible, with all our staff becoming dementia friends and being fully equipped to handle any visitors with dementia.

We have a ‘Top Ten Memorable Objects’ activity in our museum and art gallery which features pictures and brief history outline regarding certain objects located within the museum to act as prompts to those living with dementia and hopefully enhance their visit.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

We are keen make our museums dementia friendly, however we will struggle to change the actual environment and layout of the museums due to the nature of the items on display.

We will however endevour to overcome this through making sure all our employees are dementia friends and as many of our facilities that can be easily altered are dementia friendly.

2. Actions

  • Dementia awareness in house

    Ensure all our employees attend a Dementia Friends session to enable them to gain a strong understanding of dementia and how they can assist any customers affected by the disease.

  • Top Ten Memorable Objects

    Our ‘Top Ten Memorable Objects’ is a new scheme we have started that will run in all 9 of our museums across the Tyne and Wear. It involves a sheet of A4 card which features 10 memorable objects that have been specially chosen to trigger memories of older visitors and those with dementia. It will also enable the carer to interact and get the most out of their visit to the museum with the individual that is living with dementia.

  • Coin Charts

    We will ensure that we have a coin chart next to each till and payment area within the museum to assist those affected by dementia who may struggle to understand money.