Object learning and its impact on wellbeing and confidence in pupils with SEND in partnership with Leeds Museums and Galleries

Artwork produced by pupils during project


This action research was a part of the SLiCE (Specialist Leaders in Cultural Education) programme funded by Arts Council England through the regional bridge organisation for Yorkshire and Humber, CapeUK.

Timescales and delivery dates:

This was a year-long process between West Oaks School and Leeds Museums and Galleries (LMG) starting in June 2015 and ending in June 2016. Delivery of the arts programme took place between September 2015 and May 2016.

Project Management:

Relaxed Santa sessions

Leeds City Council logo

Abbey House Museum, Kirkstall, Leeds, is part of Leeds Museums and Galleries. These sessions were something we decided to do ourselves, out of a growing customer need. Abbey House has long been perceived as a good site for children with additional needs and our site learning officer’s expertise has fostered this. Some of the crafts were funded through ACE Major Partner Museum monies, mostly through core LCC budgets (LCC staff time to open building) and (I think) entrance fees.

The Happy Museum

Leeds City Council logo

The Happy Museum – a health and wellbeing for people of all ages at Abbey House Museum, Kirkstall, Leeds.
Abbey House Museum, Kirkstall, Leeds, is part of Leeds Museums and Galleries. The Happy Museum is a national scheme which encourages museums to contribute to the health, wellbeing and sustainability agenda.

Dementia Friendly Museums in Wakefield

Wakefield Council logo

In April 2013, local government restructures gave local authorities responsibility for public health. Wakefield Council’s Health improvement Team now shares a directorate with museums.

The impact of art-viewing and museum object handling on the subjective wellbeing of people with dementia and their carers

The Beaney logo

Previous research indicates art-viewing and museum object handling are effective in increasing subjective wellbeing for people with a range of health conditions.  People with dementia and their carers attended a two-hour session at the museum comprising two art-based activities (art-viewing and object-handling) and a social activity in the form of a refreshment break.  They completed subjective wellbeing measures before and after each activity.  These were five rating scales ranging from 0-100 indicating how happy/unhappy, well/unwell, interested/not interested, confident/not

'Who Cares? Museums, health and wellbeing'

The 'Who Cares? Museums, health and wellbeing' publication outlines the programme that the six Renaissance North West museums have been running over the past two years. The programme has been researched by the Psychosocial Research Unit at the University of Central Lancashire. The full research report and report summary are available to download.

“Whose Cake is it Anyway?” Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Paul Hamlyn Foundation

In 2009, Paul Hamlyn Foundation commissioned Dr. Bernadette Lynch to work with a study group of 12 museums and their community partners across the UK, to gauge the real nature and effectiveness of the engagement practices of museums and galleries. Lynch recommends that participation must be embedded at the core of an organisation, rather than being run as a series of short-term, stand-alone projects.

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Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England