A new heritage wellbeing project toolkit has been launched for cultural heritage sector organisations, thanks to Historic England and Wessex Archaeology.

The toolkit, which we have created, includes an animated video guide and a downloadable information leaflet. It is designed to enable cultural and heritage organisations to create and deliver their own digital heritage wellbeing projects and is available to explore and download for free.

The toolkit is based on learnings from our digital wellbeing project, ‘Lost & Found: Treasures in the Archive’, which was supported by Historic England’s Covid-19 Emergency Response funding. Lost & Found invited participants from a range of community groups to meet in a series of online sessions to discover artefacts from Wessex Archaeology’s archive and curate a new interactive digital museum. The aim of the project was to offer an opportunity for meaningful interactions at a time when restrictions in socialising and travel posed wellbeing challenges for many.  

Archive items acted as a vehicle for the sessions, aiding discussions and allowing participants to share their own stories. Participants also undertook homework tasks, encouraging creative thought and storytelling. These sessions, in addition to two public votes, have culminated in the creation of the Museum of the Lost & Found; a repository of interactive 3D artefacts and the stories of the groups that chose them.

The new toolkit provides useful guidance and key information to other cultural and heritage organisations who may be able to leverage their own unique resources to run a wellbeing project.

Stills from the bespoke animation, part of the new heritage wellbeing project toolkit Stills from the bespoke animation, part of the new heritage wellbeing project toolkit

Leigh Chalmers, Heritage Inclusion Development Specialist at Wessex Archaeology, says: “We are very proud to be sharing this wellbeing project toolkit as a result of our successful Lost & Found project. The role of heritage in supporting wellbeing has never been more important. All those involved in the Lost & Found project – both staff and participants – have attested to the significant benefits to their wellbeing as a result of taking part. This toolkit contains the key lessons we have learnt, in an accessible, engaging format – including a beautiful bespoke animation. We are confident that the toolkit is an invaluable resource, which will help cultural and heritage organisations to create and deliver their own successful wellbeing projects.”

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive, Historic England says “Over the past year we have all become more aware of how heritage sites across the country play a big role in helping people’s wellbeing. It’s excellent that the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund has funded Wessex Archaeology to develop a new wellbeing toolkit for the heritage sector.”

The toolkit can be explored and downloaded here.