Reminiscence in the Museum

Projektträger: Szabadtéri Néprajzi Múzeum (SZNM), Hungarian Open Air Museum

Verantwortliche*r: Bokonics-Kramlik Márta


3. Preis


Öffentliche Verwaltung

Worum geht es?

Over the past few decades, the Hungarian Open Air Museum has gradually transformed from an architectural museum into a museum of lifestyle, social and solidarity. It is pioneer with its programmes in the field of social responsibility, and the first cultural institution in Hungary whose goals include improving the quality of life of people living with dementia. To do this, we are using an innovative new method that can be easily adapted by others: memories recalled by reminiscence based on elements of cultural heritage to help keep the disease at a level and slow down its decline.


Dementia is a growing challenge worldwide. 250,000 people in Hungary are estimated to be affected by dementia today. This figure is close to one million if we include their family members. There are also few spaces for people with dementia to reconnect and process their pasts safely. 


Reminiscence in the Museum is the first museum in Hungary that works with people with dementia to connect with their memories and the past. The visitors and their caregivers explore these memories through multi-sensorial reminiscence sessions set in an interactive house equipped with objects that can be used. The museum makes it possible for the elderly to reconnect with their past and trigger their long-term memories.


We provide reminiscence sessions at the museum and a hospital for people living with dementia who are accompanied by their caregivers. We offer counselling and training to professionals and families; we also teach at universities. We raise awareness of dementia to the public at our annual World Alzheimer’s Day event. 


The museum interventions slow dementia progression and boost participants’ self-confidence and self-esteem. The sessions also have a positive impact and reduce stress for caregivers. Raising awareness helps to eliminate social stigma and gives others the tools to help people living with dementia and their families. 


We developed an internationally adaptable programme model. Several programme elements can be adapted by caregivers, social workers, healthcare professionals, and museum professionals. The programme provides effective communication with people living with dementia by triggering their long-term memories through the senses and reminiscing based on elements of cultural heritage.