Mental Health and Museums
When you think of museums you probably think of a place full of stories, a place that is meant to educate you, to spread your knowledge, but not many people think about the effect a trip to the museum can have on you. The museum provides a calm and safe setting you can learn, see, explore and try out new things. In a way, it is a break from normal everyday life. To celebrate World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October 2018 we wanted to tell you a little bit about how much a short trip to a museum can impact your mental health.
Depending on your interests or current situations you are struggling with, some objects might have an effect on you that is not to be underestimated. They might trigger emotional responses and most importantly they might be of therapeutic potential as the symbolisation in some parts of the galleries might bring up memories and even a sense of belonging, which can be extremely helpful and relieving for some people.
The Jewish Museum London tries to represent its acceptance towards every person so they feel as comfortable in the museum as possible, by including several social groups in the Jewish communities to the public eye and spreading a sense of inclusion. One of these rooms might be the living communities room next to the history and the Holocaust gallery, in which several Jewish members of the LGBTQ community are presented and can be explored. Depending on the person watching and their personal situation, this room might fulfil them with a sense of acceptance and tolerance.
Another part of the museum, which can have a very therapeutic effect is the Shabbat section in the Judaism gallery. It is a comfortable section in which you can listen to a Jewish family’s normal Shabbat ritual and where you can even touch some objects. The sounds, the lighting and the setting can be just mesmerizing to the viewer. Similar to this is the Mikveh, a Jewish ritual bath which you can find on the ground floor of the museum. It is the first object you can see when you enter the museum. Try listening to the audios with one of the headphones next to it, you will be impressed by how calming this ritual can be.
For children, the Jewish Museum London has a wide range of school workshops in which the children can learn about Judaism but can also do some object handling, which can have a great impact on how children pay attention and connect with the items. This can calm them down, fill them with excitement and also with pride to be allowed to touch the objects with their own hands. It is also a great way to connect with others students.
So whenever you feel down and don’t feel that connected to yourself just remember museums are a great way to take a break from your normal day to day routine by introducing new thoughts, ideas and impressions to your life.