National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth works to become dementia friendly

A POPULAR city attraction has utilised ‘unusually quiet time’ during lockdown to make it a more dementia friendly place.

By Fiona Callingham
Friday, 21st May 2021, 11:00 am

In line with Dementia Action Week this week, the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) in Portsmouth has marked a milestone with more than 50 staff now trained as Dementia Friends.

The Alzheimer’s Society’s initiative, which is used across the country, aims to raise understanding and awareness of the condition.

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The National Museum of the Royal Navy's HMS Victory, which is now open to visitors at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

And throughout the last year of closures and restrictions, the NMRN held sessions with staff to focus on creating a positive experience for visitors with dementia.

The NMRN’s community producer, Jo Valentine said: ‘We want to create the best experiences for our visitors at our museum attractions so decided as part of preparing for reopening to make the most of an unusually quiet time due to the government closures and offer colleagues the opportunity to attend the livestreamed Dementia Friends sessions.

‘The session allowed people to think about our visitors’ experiences on entering our historic ships and planes in a new light.’

The community team is also currently working on HMS Victory – The People’s Ship, a project which will ask the public to share their memories of HMS Victory. These memories will be shared as part of an object handling Covid-secure box for use in care homes.

Ms Valentine added: ‘Sharing memories is a way for people to feel connected to their local community, especially important in a time where we have been locked away.

‘In the past, we have also run Tea and Sea sessions with Shearwater Residential Care Home where residents and relatives explore and reminisce together through objects.

‘An object is like a magic key that can “unlock” a memory for someone. The act of putting on a sailor’s hat can remind them of a day being in the dockyard or even the act of putting on a hat reminds them of putting a hat on for church.’

Anyone who would like to share their memories of HMS Victory for the project can contact [email protected]

The NMRN is part of the Historic Dockyards in Portsmouth, which reopened to the public on May 17.

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