House of Memories

National Museums Liverpool takes House of Memories to Singapore

Memorandum of Understanding signing between National Museums Liverpool, The British Council and the National Heritage Board (NHB) at Eden Hall.Pictured l-r – From the National Heritage Board (Singapore) – Ms  Amanda Chan, Senior Manager, (Silver Hubs, Heritage Institutions), Ms Chang Hwee Nee, Chief Executive Officer, and Mr Alvin Tan, Deputy Chief Executive (Policy and Community); as well as Ms Carol Rogers, Director of Engagement, National Museums Liverpool, Ms Mei-kwei Barker, Director of the British Council Singapore, HE Scott Wightman, British High Commissioner to Singapore, and Dr Sarah Meisch, Director of Arts and Creative Industries at the British Council Singapore. Image © British Council.

29 April 2019 marked a wonderful, historic moment for House of Memories, in helping us to support more people living with dementia, their families and caregivers internationally. On this day, National Museums Liverpool signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The British Council and National Heritage Board (NHB) to develop our House of Memories museum-led dementia awareness training programme, in Singapore.

We’re immensely proud that developing the House of Memories programme in Singapore will be an example of the SG-UK Partnership for the future, launched in January by the UK Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt and Singapore’s Foreign Minister, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

House of Memories has been running at the Museum of Liverpool since 2012 and has reached more than 12,000 professional and family caregivers enabling the people they care for to live well with dementia. Following our most recent launch last summer in the United States with the Minnesota Historical Society, we’re delighted to be adding Singapore to our international programme. 

The need is great and dementia is now a global issue. In 2018, dementia has affected 50 million people worldwide, and this number is expected to rise to 82 million by 2030 and 152 million by 2050*. The signing took place as Singapore's first national survey on dementia, conducted by Singapore Management University and the Alzheimer's Disease Association, was released on 29 April.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Ms Mei-kwei Barker, Director of the British Council Singapore, Mr Alvin Tan, Deputy Chief Executive (Policy and Community) National Heritage Board (Singapore) and Ms Carol Rogers, Director of Engagement at National Museums Liverpool in the beautiful surroundings of Eden Hall – official residence to His Excellency Scott Wightman, British High Commissioner to Singapore.

The My House of Memories app

The My House of Memories app. Image © British Council.

This agreement will result in the adaptation of our award-winning programme to the Singapore context by developing a version of the My House of Memories app which will feature curated objects and photographs from the National Collection managed by the National Heritage Board. These objects will be selected in consultation with people living with dementia and their caregivers, as well as healthcare professionals at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital to ensure that they resonate with the group.

This Singapore version of the My House of Memories app will help caregivers to share memories with the person they care for living with dementia, using the power of museum objects. It will help trigger memories and enable the user to ‘visit’ the museum and connect with their heritage from the comfort of their own home or care home.

The House of Memories programme in Singapore will build on NHB's Silver Hubs initiative at the heritage institutions** which has introduced a suite of age-friendly programmes to appeal to diverse groups of seniors since 2018. 

The app will first be developed in English and made publicly available in 2020, and its second phase will see the app translated into Singapore’s official languages. The app will be complemented by training for health and social care professionals, family, friends and care partners of people living with dementia. Through the training, they will learn to use the app to improve the care experiences for themselves and for people living with dementia.

We will also be creating a suite of films together, based on real-life stories, which will enhance caregivers’ understanding and empathy for their loved ones.

Building on the success of House of Memories internationally, this programme will enable heritage institutions in Singapore to support local communities through person-centred care, which is at the heart of our training. Museums can be fantastic resources to help unlock memories, improve communication and understanding, and enrich the lives of those living with dementia. We’re excited to see how House of Memories will help people living with dementia in Singapore and their caregivers to connect and share memories together.

*(Source: From Plan to Impact (Alzheimer’s Disease International, 2017)).
**Heritage institutions managed by NHB comprise the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Malay Heritage Centre and Indian Heritage Centre.

Tags:  British High Commission Singapore, British Council, British Council Singapore, National Heritage Board, National Museums Liverpool, house of memories, My House of Memories app, dementia, Singapore