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Jewish Museum London

The Jewish Museum London collects, preserves and interprets material relating to Jewish history, culture and religious life. Through our exhibitions, collections and learning programmes we explore the ways in which people construct and maintain their identities in a multicultural, multi-faith society. The museum draws on the Jewish experience to examine the experiences of migration and settlement shared by many minority ethnic communities and promotes tolerance by challenging stereotypes and combating prejudice in all its forms. Our mission is to surprise, delight and engage all people, irrespective of background or faith, in the history, identity and culture of Jews in Britain and beyond. By inspiring discovery, provoking questions and encouraging understanding we look to help create a world where cultural diversity and the contribution of minority communities are explored, valued and celebrated, for the enrichment of society as a whole.

6 July 2017
Education Sector, Faith Groups
Local Alliances:
Camden 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?

The Jewish Museum aims to provide a safe, supportive and welcoming space for all people, irrespective of background or faith, and we want to celebrate and acknowledge the contribution that those living with dementia add to the community and civic life.

Our museum tells the story of the history and heritage of Jews in Britain through universal themes of migration, family, faith and culture. Through offering inclusive and participatory workshops, we hope to provide an environment for individuals to be heard, valued and understood. In addition, we hope that all those who attend will develop new interests and broaden their social networks.

We recognise that carers also require support and we want them to have the opportunity to learn and have fun with a network of others, including carers in a similar position to themselves. We also want to give them the opportunity to have a bit of respite, knowing that their loved ones will be looked after. 

Through our involvement, we hope to become ambassadors, improving understanding about dementia and also working in partnership with other organisations to share knowledge about best practice in dementia.

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

The Jewish Museum’s public adult programme has tended to focus on a series of talks and tours; working with and developing a programme for those living with dementia was not something that we had embarked upon before, so this in itself was a challenge.

Both staff members leading on the project had a limited knowledge and understanding of dementia so the first step for them was to undertake research and to attend a number of training sessions to increase their skills and confidence.

Thinking about planning the content for workshops for older people with varying needs wasn’t something we had experience of and we were mindful of creating a unique offer that provided both intellectual stimulation and enjoyment. Additional challenges included finding the audience and negotiating a separate space in the museum to deliver in-house workshops.

Member website


2. Actions

  • For staff members to increase their knowledge, understanding, skills and confidence in communicating and working creatively with people living with dementia and their carers.

    This action is ongoing and work has already started to train and equip two staff members for working creatively with people living with dementia and their carers. Before beginning work on our programme, we carried out extensive research into existing programmes in Camden to ensure that our offer would be unique. We visited other centres offering programmes for those living with dementia and their carers to observe what was available, which in turn led to us being invited to speak at a Memory Way Café. This first introduction into those living with dementia and their carers proved a positive experience and has formed the basis for the current outreach workshop.

    To increase knowledge and understanding, we have participated in a number of training sessions including those hosted by Arts4Dementia, and the Chinese National Healthy Living Centre. Two staff members have become Dementia Friends and the museum is considering becoming a Dementia Friends Champion in the future.

    Initial Scoping
  • To develop an offer for those living with dementia and their carers, using the Jewish Museum collection.

    Our dementia pilot programme will initially focus on a free one hour interactive and participatory workshop designed for people living with dementia and their carers. This will be an outreach workshop, where members of staff will visit residential or care homes to deliver a session aimed at engaging participants in conversation and creative activities. As part of the workshop participants will handle museum objects to facilitate social interaction, explore collection images and create stories and share ideas.

    There will also be an option for the workshops to be held at the Jewish Museum, with participants having the opportunity to explore the museum through a guided tour of some of the highlights within the collection and to engage in a creative activity.

    Case study
  • To ensure that all staff and volunteers feel confident in addressing the needs of visitors who may be living with dementia and their carers.

    We recognise that although public awareness of dementia is high, understanding about it is still poor and there is limited understanding of the fact that dementia can affect people in many different age groups. Taking this into consideration, we intend to offer a training session at a staff meeting to provide basic information about dementia and to explore and create awareness about how we, as a museum, can improve our visitor experience for this group and their carers. This training would also be replicated to all volunteers, who are often the first point of contact for visitors and likely to be in touch with people living with dementia.

    Those living with dementia and their family carers described one of their seven chosen outcomes as ‘…having a sense of belonging and of being a valued part of family, community and civic life’. By offering training for staff and volunteers, we will create awareness so that those living with dementia and their family members no longer feel ashamed or discriminated against but instead feel that those they come into contact with are helpful and supportive of their needs.