Understanding how Museum Outreach can Impact the Social Well-being of Seniors Living in Care Facilities in British Columbia
Using a mixed-methods approach, this study compared the effect of two museum outreach programs. A reminiscence themed outreach program (the recollection of life stories prompted by objects) was evaluated against the effect of a new learning theme outreach program (participants work out the purpose and function of mystery objects through observation and discussion). The kits were delivered by trained facilitators from the Royal British Columbia Museum (Royal BC Museum) to six groups at four care homes in the Greater Victoria area. Participants, seniors (65 years and older) living in the care homes, did a pre- and post-test to measure mood, and observations were made during the program using field notes and audio recordings which were later analyzed for evidence of socialization. The results found that both types of programs improve mood and both offer opportunities for socialization, however the success of the reminiscence program is more dependent on the skills of the facilitator.