Dementia Friendly Workshops

Dementia Friendly Workshops

We have been offering engaging experiences for people living with Dementia since 2014. All staff have completed Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Awareness training delivered by the Northern Ireland Museums Council and have gained significant experience in developing and delivering Dementia Friendly programmes. Object handling and music are key to our Dementia Friendly workshops.

VE Day Remembered with music and memories

We have created VE Day Remembered with Music and Memories for the 75th anniversary of VE Day. In this film you will hear a selection of spoken memories of VE Day in 1945, which we have collected through The War and Me Oral History Project. These important stories are complemented by wartime songs performed by Karen Diamond and Belfast Telegraph images of VE Day. We hope you enjoy singing along. If you have a wartime story you would like to add to our collection, please get in touch.

Follow this link to watch VE Day Remembered with music and memories

VE Day Remembered with music and memories- a short film which is available on our YouTube Channel

Free Sing for Victory CD

We have produced a Sing for Victory CD and accompanying songbook for older people to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes.

Sing for Victory features 18 wartime songs to raise morale, with vocals by music therapist Karen Diamond and singer Emma O’Dornan.

We have produced this CD as we are currently closed to the public and unable to offer our monthly Sing for Victory singing and reminiscence workshops in the museum … so we’re bringing the fun to you with a free CD!

To request a free copy, please email providing your postal address and outlining how you plan to use the CD.

We’ve also produced an accompanying songbook which contains the lyrics and some suggested chair-based exercises suitable for older people to try. It is available to download and print at home in two font sizes:

The exercises are taken from Love to Move, an age and dementia friendly seated gymnastics programme developed by the British Gymnastics Foundation. The exercises are designed to get older people moving and can be done either individually or as part of a small group. You can find step-by-step instructions for the exercises in the Love to Move exercise booklet which can be downloaded here.

The booklet contains important information about exercising safely at home. It is suggested that individuals and staff in care homes and folds download the exercise booklet and encourage older people to do the exercises along to the music.

We hope this Sing for Victory CD and songbook will raise people’s spirits in these difficult times by keeping them active and stimulating memories.

We’d love to hear how you are using this resource so if you have feedback, please email our Outreach Officer, Michael Fryer at or share your experience on our Facebook page.

We are currently closed to the public, but when we reopen we look forward to offering our dementia friendly workshops again. You may be interested to read below about the other workshops and outreach sessions we offer.

Reminiscence Workshops

The museum offers a range of reminiscence workshops for older people. These workshops highlight objects from the museum’s collection and have been designed to be informative and engaging for all. Reminiscence workshops are based on the home front in Northern Ireland during the Second World War.

Workshops can be arranged to take place in the museum or in the meeting place of a group (e.g. a care home, a church or a community hall) and they last approximately one hour.

Discussions normally relate to:

  • Childhood and toys
  • pastimes and hobbies
  • food and family routines
  • rationing, austerity and make do and mend
  • the Belfast Blitz
  • the presence of GIs in Northern Ireland from 1942

Every workshop is different, depending on the interests, needs and memories of the group. Reminiscence sessions are suitable for small groups of up to 10 people around a table and will involve object handling and the sharing of memories. A reminiscence workshop can be complemented with song, music and movement.

Workshops are free of charge

Booking required

All staff have completed dementia awareness training with the Alzheimer’s Society and the museum is registeted as working to become Dementia Friendly.

For more information or to make a booking, email or call 028 9032 0392

Please outline the group’s size, meeting place, needs and specific interests

Reminiscence Workshop at NIWM

Sing for Victory Workshops

Participatory activities such as singing can be enjoyable and engaging for people living with Dementia and their carers. Building on the well-known preserved memory for song and music in the brain, the museum has worked with Music Therapist Karen Diamond to create a singing and reminiscence workshop which focuses on songs from the 1940s.

The museum is offering regular Sing for Victory workshops throughout 2020 on the following dates:

Friday 6th March

Friday 3rd April

Friday 1st May

Friday 4th September

Friday 2nd October

Friday 6th November

Friday 4th December

Visit the museum to look back at life during the Second World War and to sing-along to songs from the 1940s, accompanied by live piano performances by Karen Diamond.

Workshops are free to attend; but booking is required. Tea, coffee and refreshments are provided, and the museum is fully wheelchair accessible.

Reminiscence Loan Boxes

Reminiscence Loan Box NIWM

Loan boxes can stimulate curiosity and provide a hands-on approach to learning. Activity therapists and community group leaders can borrow a reminiscence loan box from the museum.

Our loans boxes focus on life during the Second World War and include objects from our handling collection, photographs, background information, ideas for activities and guidance notes for use.

Memories of wartime and childhood are triggered by objects such as an air raid warden’s helmet, a gas mask, children’s storybooks, a well-loved doll, a darning mushroom and clothing coupons.

This is a free service, available to groups of all ages.

  • Only one box can be borrowed at a time
  • Booking required
  • Boxes are on loan for a maximum of two weeks
  • Boxes must be collected and returned to the museum

To book, contact or 028 9032 0392

Kindly supported by the Northern Ireland Museums Council

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