Another busy year has passed…

Another busy year has gone by so quickly at the Wee Museum of Memory/The Living Memory Association. Although the Wee Hub (Debenhams version) has closed, we will be managing some smaller units in the centre to provide hubs and space for artists, dancers, and children. These units need to be cleaned and prepared and made safe for users and public so they are not quite ready yet – but please do watch this space or contact us for further information. Caroline has again taken point with organising the new area and, although we have all had a wee turn at cleaning, our volunteer David merits a special thanks for all his hard work.

The Wee Museum remains in situ on the second floor beside Britannia but will move to another unit at some point in 2024 – we do not know where or when as yet. Packing up, moving and then unpacking and setting out in a new space will be interesting and challenging but the move should give us the opportunity to review the layout, as well as selecting what objects and materials will be included in the displays. Naomi will keep us organised with how we approach this slightly daunting task. We obviously aim to maintain a welcoming venue that visitors will continue to find interesting and engaging, as well as memory provoking, wherever we are located.

Wee Museum of Memory – still next to Britannia.

Throughout this year we have had a very varied diet of events and projects. John and Joyce have held regular drop-in sessions. John held reminiscence sessions on Tuesday afternoons, and Joyce’s Thursday morning activity group combined reminiscence with crafts, art, exercises, singing, slide shows, music, circus skills, and customs and traditions. They both also took sessions for visiting groups from a variety of organisatiobusy ns including: Wardie Gentle Walking group, Pilmeny Older People’s group, Healthy Together, Rotary Club Dalkeith, Beacon Club, Pilmeny Development Group, Portobello Older People’s Project, St Anne’s Care Home, International Women’s Group, and Friendship Group.

The extended and improved memory boxes have proved popular and are being borrowed on a regular basis. The School Bag remains the most popular, and has been used in some schools as well as other community groups. The bags and boxes have been used by different groups including: Celtic FC Foundation, Heart of Newhaven, and Pilmeny Ladies Club.

The studio has been well used by Barry and Russell recording and editing podcasts. Conor, our musician summer intern, also re-edited some earlier podcasts, demonstrating great technical, as well as composing, skills. Raj has been in recording and editing Sikh Stories, and Barry has mentored and trained the Nkula Health project to record and edit their reminiscences. He has also spearheaded our increased social media presence with Facebook posts and short Tiktok videos featuring some staff and a few of our regular volunteers: there has been some friendly rivalry over the numbers of viewers each video gets but there is no doubt Sofia and Stuart are top of the league.

Russell has been busy interviewing and recording, doing outreach talks and creating an engaging display in the ‘Away for the Messages’ unit. There are plans afoot to do more work on the inside area and recreate a ‘shop-like’ environment, so there will be plenty to see on the ground floor.

We are grateful to have had regular help from a range of volunteers over the year, with a few being mentored by Naomi and Russell to help with collection management or displays. Although some have finished their time with us and returned to university, we hope that more recent volunteers continue to show interest in helping at LMA/Wee Museum of Memory and our projects.

David has maintained the photo archive, updating information on existing images and entering new donations. He’s also extremely handy at moving shelving units and other bits of furniture. The Wee Hub booking calendar and weekly What’s On programme was co-ordinated and produced by Delphine.This was quite a feat of timetabling and patience, so a massive thank you to her and hope she enjoys a well-deserved quietish month or two.

Beside us all is, of course, Heather who was also very involved with overseeing the events and programme at the Wee Hub. With Caroline, she is currently negotiating access to, and use of, the new wee Wee Hub at Wagamama as well as the the Wee Play Hub in what was French Connection, so no rest there yet. And of course, throughout the year Heather and other staff have been completing many, many grant applications in order to fund our various projects so that the Living Memory Association can continue reminiscing with visitors. It’s been a busy year right enough.

Here’s to more in 2024!