Community Wellbeing

Working together with artists, community groups and Museum visitors creates interesting and exciting responses and reactions to the objects that can be found in Museums.

Found Artwork

Leicester Museums & Galleries commissioned an artist to create a piece of artwork inspired by objects in the Museum's collections.

Leicestershire artist Rachel Grevatte created ‘Found’, a piece of artwork inspired by the birds in the museum’s collection of art, craft and natural specimens. Rachel’s early memories of Leicester Museum & Art Gallery include an amazing collection of taxidermy birds in their precious glass dome.

The ‘Found’ Tree is a tree of Life covered in colourful collaged birds inspired by the museum’s collections and the stories of Leicester's residents.

The Found artwork display at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery
The Found artwork display at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery

Rachel worked with community groups and museum visitors to create the Tree of Life. Participants took part in workshops creating painted and printed papers that were used to make the collages.

The Tree of Life was installed in an upstairs gallery at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery and it appeared to burst through the floor from below, referencing the mature horse chestnut tree outside the museum. The leaves and the bark of the tree were created with rubbings and prints from trees surrounding the museum. They were made from local newspaper cuttings related to stories of Leicester’s past and the recent pandemic.

Each bird was made from a collage of found and painted papers which have on them snippets of poems, photos, recipes, letters and songs. These were chosen by participants to tell their personal stories as residents of Leicester. The birds found their home in the tree with all its history, change and growth. Despite being from different times and places from around the world, the birds appeared to live there together, peacefully in all their glorious colours.

A case containing inspirational bird objects from the museum's collections, which accompanied the artwork display
A case containing inspirational bird objects from the museum's collections, which accompanied the artwork display

A number of bird inspired objects from the museum’s collections were placed in a case next to the artwork. Visitors were also encouraged to explore the museum and other exhibition and discover the amazing examples on display. Visitors commented that they were amazed how many birds and bird inspired motifs could be found when looking for them.

Special thanks to The Carers Centre, Leicestershire and Rutland, Focus Charity, Leicester Community Links and ArtReach. Participants from these organisations worked enthusiastically with the artist as part of the creation of the artwork. Many Museum visitors had fun creating the materials for the bark of the tree at a drop-in session in the museum.

Next time you visit the museum, have a look and discover how many bird objects you can find during your visit!

Found Project Gallery

Our Partnerships

These examples show how working with partners has helped us to develop some resources and events that have been used and enjoyed by many people.

National Museums Liverpool

Working in partnership with National Museums Liverpool as part of the nationally recognised House of Memories programme has been a rewarding experience for our Museums. Their House of Memories programme was developed to support carers and is a Museum led dementia awareness programme offering access to resources and museum based activities to enable carers to focus on the person rather than the condition.

We began with support from National Museums Liverpool colleagues to create resources and a training programme, working together to use our Museums to train approximately 200 care professionals. The training provided basic information about Dementia and showed how memory activity resources linked to a Museum experience could be used by carers in care homes and the Museums.

This initial funding, expert advice and generous support gave us the confidence to expand our resources and we have since developed additional free to loan memory resources in the form of object boxes and memory bags to borrow from Newarke Houses Museum, and bags to use in the Museum when people visit. We have memory object trails and have provided activity workshops for both professional carers’ and for people who care for loved ones at home.

Everybody likes to take a trip down memory lane and by working together with National Museums Liverpool we have been able to play our part with other local organisations to provide resources to support families and carers and people living with Dementia.

Crafting Relationships

Crafting Relationships is a values-led, not for profit social enterprise operating a continual cycle of delivery, learning and sharing. They manage the Local History Café programme in partnership with museums and libraries who host the cafes.

Local History Cafes are monthly heritage and wellbeing get togethers for over 50s at risk of, experiencing or looking to keep at bay, social isolation and loneliness. Leicester Museum & Art Gallery hosts a monthly café and is one of six partners across Leicester, Leicestershire and Derbyshire who are part of the programme.

Crafting Relationships management of the programme provides expert advice to us, enabling us to create sessions where participants are welcomed for the long term and staff and volunteers blend into the sessions to create a supportive environment in which everybody benefits and their knowledge and wellbeing is enhanced.

Useful Contacts

Alzheimers Society 
Autism East Midlands
Sunflower Scheme
Age UK
Mind
Parkinsons UK
Vista
My Choice Leicester