In the Autumn and Winter, 2014, Community Connections worked alongside the Horniman Museum and Gardens to deliver two experience sessions for people from Lewisham. All the people who attended had worked with Community Connections before, and they were keen to explore what the museum had to offer. The sessions were planned with the aim of sparking interest and creativity, a chance to socialise, meet new people and learn about more opportunities in the community.
During the first session we went on a fascinating walk around the gardens, exploring the dye garden, medicinal garden and materials garden. Everyone loved the chance to smell the eucalyptus plant and reflect on its medicinal properties, the lavender was popular too! Being in the garden gave the group a chance to chat together and get to know one another. We then headed in for a well deserved cup of tea!
The group also completed a plant potting activity. Many of the attendees shared their experiences, discussing their style of gardening and how best to take care of plants. We planted different herbs like coriander and fennel which inevitably led to a discussion about cooking and using different spices. The group finished this activity with an abundance of gardening and cooking tips as well a new addition for their gardens.
We then went into the Horniman museums hands on base to continue the afternoon. Everyone was able to observe the objects in this collection and choose one they were particularly drawn to, to hold. We completed a Mindfulness exercise, exploring our objects with all of our senses. This was a great session and by the end of it everyone was looking forward to our next meeting.
When we met again we decided to visit the gardens for a second time. We went on the animal walk and saw the alpacas, hens, rabbits, sheep and goats. We then continued with our theme derived from our last session. The group photographed objects, pictures and displays in the galleries that they were most strongly drawn to. We were then able to share our favoured photographs with the whole group. This was a brilliant exercise as it gave everyone the chance to present to the group and offer their opinion.
Many of the group members also brought objects from home. The objects were related to travel and places they’d visited in the past, this presented a valuable opportunity for the group to share their experiences and it was fascinating to listen to each person’s story about their object.
One group member, D, wrote a poem about her experience at the Horniman museum. The poem was very touching and I will share it in my next blog post.
Community Connections is now hoping to do some further sessions at the Horniman Museum with the support of volunteers, watch this space.
By Rosa Parker