Team leader recreation Tracey Withers describes Coombrae Home’s collection of everyday objects and treasures from the past as a “Museum in a box”.
Mindful of the importance of “memory and identity” – one of the Eden principles which all Enliven homes follow – Tracey curated the museum from three large boxes of household paraphernalia that were going to be thrown away when the owner passed on.
“She was 94 and lived amongst all her original belongings, a number of which she still used. As a kind of tribute to her and her life I found them a new home,” says Tracey. “While they don’t have monetary value, they are important reminders of our history, too.”
The collection comprises valve radios, film cameras, books, old dolls, jigsaw puzzles and board games, Edmonds baking powder tins, glass milk bottles, cake and biscuit tins, medicine bottles, an iron and a thermos or two.
“Kitchen equipment such as flour sifters and meat grinders that are used by hand, are very popular,” says Tracey. “Almost everything sparks a memory or harks back to a resident’s past identity.”
Coombrae Village resident Roger Falder agrees. “When I was an electrician we used the Megger Meter to test the wiring in people’s homes. It was a very useful tool.”
Residents get to “visit” the museum regularly as Tracey lays everything out within easy reach on tables in the recreation room.
“Everyone has a lot of fun,” Tracey says. “A special afternoon tea is part of the visit and residents from other homes also get an invite to come and join in.”