TimeCapsule_Sep14 - Happy Museum Project

Time Capsule
This approach has been developed by Happy Museum commission Reading
Museum and then adapted so it can work more generally. It can also be used
as a more embedded way of asking the LIFE questions.
In Reading, the approach was used to test if the Happy Museum project made
any difference to how participants thought of their local neighbourhood. A wall
map of the area created a focal point, and sort cards were offered with a
variety of words that could describe the area:
Strong community. Beautiful. Vice. Avoid.
Dangerous. Peaceful. Historic. Modern.
Ancient. New. Friendly. Ugly. Safe. Industrial.
Crowded. Diverse. Bad. Good. Rich. Poor.
Open space. Violent. Good Atmosphere.
Unfriendly. Lonely. Cosmopolitan. Decay.
Urban. Countryside. Fumes. Children. Elderly.
Working class. Youth. Families. Residential.
Business. Criminals. Polluted. Dusty. Clean.
Dirty. Noisy. Quiet. Bright. Dark at night.
Restaurants. Boring. Pubs. Entertainment.
Flooded. Alcoholics. Drug users. Gangs.
Schools. Medical Centre. Shopping centre.
Local market. Police station. Church. Police
Cars. Community Centre. Shops. Trees. High
rise. Flowers. Brickwork. Concrete. Green.
Good Facilities. Good transport. Remote.
Arty. Suburban.
Participants were asked to pick up the cards that represented their view, and
put them in a Time Capsule which was sealed until the end of the project,
when the exercise was repeated. This allowed a cross-sectional analysis of any
changes in opinion.
By sorting the words in Excel alphabetically it was easy to see which had
changed. The later session saw the introduction of some key new words, such
as beautiful and historic. Whereas the first time over half the words had
negative connotations and only 14% positive, by the second session a third
each were positive and negative (with the remainder dependant on
The approach could be adapted to ask the questions in the LIFE survey
longitudinally (which means asking the questions of the same people over time
– as distinct from a cross-sectional analysis).
Collect the About You (demographic) information about people separately
as part of their participation agreement, and to limit the feeling of being
Explore the About Your Life questions together as a group so that people
understand the factors we’re asking about (Learning, Interaction, Feeling
happy, active or worthwhile and Environmental awareness and care of
Create individual responses that can be collected into a ‘time capsule’ and
sealed till the end of the period eg
use a questionnaire with numbers or bars to fill in
OR collect scores in other ways
text vote, using a purchased service
give the participants coded tokens (to identify the participant) and
asked them to put them in the relevant capsule for the five questions
stand on a marked line make with masking tape on the floor and take
a photo
Repeat at the end of the project – allowing the participants to see their
own results and collecting the data for analysis afterwards
Discuss About Your Experience questions, to learn what it was that made
the change, again using discussion or other tools.
Time capsule
1 Introduce the exercise - Our museum is a Happy
Museum. We think Happy Museums are more
enjoyable, comfortable and interesting places
than traditional museums. But to prove it we
need to know a little bit about you and how well
you think things are going for you. This will help
us and others improve what museums do.
1 Ask people to complete the cards. Hand the
cards out one at a time in order
2 Each time they complete a card, ask them to put
it into their ‘time-capsule’
3 Seal the time-capsule, and put it in the museum
4 At the end of the project re-do the exercise, and
open the time capsules for people to compare
their own results
Alternatively use the Time Capsule to review
other changes as described above.
The questions build on nef’s Five Ways to wellbeing
so the survey is specific to cultural experience, after
three years of action research in museums. They
feature Learning, Interaction, Feelings and
Environment or Surroundings.
Not at all
Overall, how satisfied are you with your life
Draw a line across the bar
Not at all
Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you
do in your life are worthwhile?
Draw a line across the bar
Not at all
How happy do you feel now?
Draw a line across the bar
All the time
How much time do you spend interacting with
other people?
Draw a line across the bar
All the time
How often do you feel you learn something new?
Draw a line across the bar
All the time
How much do you use your feelings,
emotions or senses?
Draw a line across the bar
Not at all
How much do you care for your
environment or surroundings?
Draw a line across the bar