Social Cohesion at Jamtli Museum
The Jamtli museum works towards the inclusion of a diverse audience. Among their actions is a project for patients from a close by hospital who become involved in the daily work on the museum's premises.
Since 2009, Jamtli Museum has been working with K2, a unit for the rehabilitation of people with mental health issues at the local hospital. A group from K2 visits the museum one afternoon a week to participate in the work of the operational, 19th-century farm.
An important aspect of the work is that tasks are necessary to the running of the farm and not given merely to keep participants occupied. Duties include brushing cows and carrying hay. The group also travels by horse and carriage on the museum premises.
The Nordic Centre of Heritage Learning and Creativity recently carried out an evaluation of the project, which showed that participants improved their self-esteem, social skills and knowledge about the development of agriculture and animals, and learned how to use their body language to show confidence – a necessary skill when working with animals.
The cultural history setting is an important aspect of the programme; participants made reference to different ways of life in the past and today, with some explicitly stating that they liked to walk around the area and learn about history. Participants reported that the initiative improved their happiness, motivation, wellbeing and health. Some even said it saved their lives by giving them back the will to live and a sense of purpose.
Participants stated: "You feel happier when you leave than when you got there"; and "[visiting Jamtli] creates a longing to do things and to work."
The programme of activities was designed by the people who carry out the day-to-day work on the farm, because it was found to be important to offer relevant things to do in a place that was welcoming. People are allowed to make mistakes, be themselves and do as much as they can cope with.
The project by the Jamtli museum is one of several projects displaying the important role museums have in shaping an inclusive society. It is featured in NEMO's publication "Museums' 4 Values - Values 4 Museums".