Crossing Boundaries: The value of museums in dementia care

House of Memories is a multi-award winning, museums-led dementia awareness training programme. Created by National Museums Liverpool (NML), it provides the health and social care workforce and informal carers with practical skills and resources to support people to live well with dementia. Upon its fifth anniversary in September 2017, in excess of 11,000 carers had actively participated in House of Memories training events and there had been more than 8,000 downloads of the My House of Memories app.

Researchers at the Institute of Cultural Capital (ICC) – led by Head of Research Kerry Wilson – have been evaluating the impact of the programme since 2013. This includes successive commissions from NML to evaluate the Health and Social Care programme, funded by the Department of Health (North of England (2013) and Midlands (2014)); the Pilot ‘Train the Trainer’ programme commissioned  by NHS Health Education England (2016); and the Family Carers Awareness Day, also funded by the Department of Health (2017).

Individual cohort studies have established a series of baseline indicators, which we continue to measure as part of the Crossing Boundaries research programme. These include standardised measures of subjective wellbeing; assessment of professional development outcomes mapped against national policy frameworks; and social value research approaches including social return on investment (SROI). From 2017, our research focuses on delivery of the Health and Social Care and Family Carers programmes at the Museum of Liverpool, with research findings reported on an annual basis.

Supplementary research methods include social network analysis of the cross-sector community of practice that underpins House of Memories, and longitudinal qualitative research on the ways in which the House of Memories toolkit and museum resources are used by participants in their individual care environments, using critical incident analysis.

Further information on the Crossing Boundaries research programme and individual evaluation studies can be accessed from the links on right-hand side of this page.

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