“Are you ready to see my first item?” Kim Gough asks of the group sitting around a large table.
Gough is the Royal BC Museum Learning Program Developer, and while it looks like the items are hidden underneath a blanket, but that blanket is actually a Royal BC Museum Outreach Kit.
Outreach Kits are a way to bring the Museum to those who can’t get there.
Gough explains that “we get lots of local visitors coming [to the Museum]
“but we also have to think about people who cannot get here. Maybe they live in a care facility, or they have transportation difficulties…
“So we were looking at creating a resource that we could send to care homes around the province to allow opportunities for seniors to socialize.”
Today Gough is at the Glenshiel Retirement home, and the residents are enjoying her visit.
“Oh, i think it’s great, it’s fun, yeah!” says Pamela Brown.
Asked if she’s learning something new today, Brown replies with a wink and a smile. “Oh certainly! I’m not sure whether I’m going to retain it, but I’m learning it for today, anyway!”
Laurie Mueller is the Executive Director of The Glenshiel.
“The residents are getting a lot from this” Mueller says. “It brings up their self-esteem, and it brings up their good feelings.”
Resident Kate Cornish agrees. “We’ve been all over the place, looking at all sorts of things! It’s been very interesting, especially for me, because I like history.”
And Ernie Bayley thinks so too. “It’s great, yeah. Always nice to learn something different.”
And as Kim Gough points out, the benefits of Outreach Kits go beyond learning about objects.
“There’s a table of ten people sitting here together” says Gough as she looks at the residents around the table, “who maybe don’t have a lot in common, they could be from different places, and now they can share in finding out what these things are and how they work.
“We’ve just looked at a few objects here, and there’s conversation, and they’re talking to each other, and that socialization is so important for their overall well-being.”
Outreach Kits are just another way Royal BC Museum staff share their love of history, and of learning.