A successful application to HLF Sharing Heritage programme in 2015 has enabled Carisbrooke Castle Museum to collect the oral histories of older people on the Isle of Wight. The Museum runs an outreach programme to residential homes and community groups supporting older people, taking objects of interest from the collections out for people to enjoy. Many of the participants in these sessions like to share their memories of times past and the Island Memories project has given older people the opportunity to have their memories recorded for posterity.
The project has provided funding buy specialist recording equipment and train Museum volunteers to undertake oral history interviews. Over 50 interviews have taken place during the year, with people from all walks of life across the Island, mostly in their 80s and 90s. Interviews have given people the opportunity to voice their life story in the context of the places where they have lived on the Island. Many topics have been explored during interviews including memories of growing up, school days, village life, transport, outings, shopping, weddings, hobbies and work.
The project was celebrated at a special event and exhibition in January 2016 to which all the participants have been invited. A travelling exhibition has been created using extracts of the interviews and photographs donated for use by the project participants and this will be touring around some of the community venues we have worked in during the project.
The project has created a wonderful archive of oral testimony for the Museum to add to their collection of social history of the Isle of Wight. The opportunity for people to share their memories has made them feel valued and their contribution is for posterity. The Museum is exploring ways of continuing this work which has so many positive outcomes for those involved including promoting the positive well-being of older people and providing opportunities to engage with and access local heritage.
Click here to read extracts from the interviews