As today marks World Mental Health Day, we’d like to share some highlights of our work over recent years to support mental wellbeing through access to heritage.
Lost & Found
In our ongoing Lost & Found project, supported by funding from Historic England, we are enabling the public to curate a virtual museum. In a series of digital sessions to introduce, learn about and discuss objects from our archive, we have created a unique and meaningful opportunity for participants to build a vital sense of community and wellbeing in this challenging lockdown period.
Our collaboration with Operation Nightingale to excavate a Bronze Age burial mound and Saxon cemetery at Barrow Clump, in the Salisbury Plain Training Area, is an excellent example of the wellbeing benefits of heritage. Operation Nightingale is a groundbreaking military initiative, which supports the recovery of injured service personnel through archaeology. The excavations provided training opportunities and a positive team experience for all those involved, and the experiences of some of the many participants were featured prominently in the resulting monograph. They tell the important story of how archaeology was able to support wellbeing and aid recovery; find out more here.
With funding support from the National Lottery Community Fund, we worked with Breaking Ground Heritage to train veterans in 3D survey and research centred around the X-craft submarines in Aberlady Bay, Scotland. Projects like this have been proven to build stronger communities for veterans, improve mental health and increase confidence to use their skills in civilian life, and we will continue to work with Breaking Ground Heritage and veterans on the next stage of the project, conducting desk based research and compiling a report.
Drawing on Heritage
We developed a series of Drawing on Heritage downloadable colouring sheets to provide an innovative and accessible way to access and enjoy heritage. Inspired by images from our extensive collection of heritage photography, these reconstructions being heritage to your fingertips and provide an opportunity for a period of mindfulness and reflection.
360 Heritage Landscape videos
We have brought heritage to people’s homes with our 360 Heritage Landscape video series. These short, interactive 360 videos capture heritage landscapes in an immersive and accessible way; providing the opportunity to enjoy a moment of calm at the touch of a button. Find the playlist on our YouTube channel here.
Staff visits to Butser Ancient Farm
During our work on the new Neolithic House build at Butser Ancient Farm, staff from across many different departments had the opportunity to visit the site and try a range of traditional building activities on the house - from trimming hazel for use on the 'Wessex wall' of the house to thatching the roof! This hands-on engagement with the exciting reconstruction project provided an excellent opportunity to collaborate and bond with colleagues and had significant wellbeing benefits.
Heritage Alliance’s Heritage, Health and Wellbeing Report
We are very proud to have played a key role in the recent Heritage, Health and Wellbeing report from the Heritage Alliance. As well as sponsoring the report, several of our recent pieces of work to support wellbeing were featured - read the report here!