A simple conversation sparked a unique idea to bring memories back to life

Kenny McLachlan, a Care Logistics Manager from Dunfermline, has seen his concept for a portable museum transformed from a ‘eureka idea’ into a memory box that now has the potential to be rolled out nationally.

Kenny explained:

A memory box is filled with items of social history that can be used as an ice breaker to start conversations with people. The items can be specific to the history of the location you’re in, or more general things from years gone by.

“Just as you do in a museum, the items of the memory box can be picked up to get a feel of them, read or worn and act as an aid to start a discussion.”

So how did Kenny turn this from an idea into reality?

Kenny got the idea from a conversation he had with the Head of Lecturing at Strathclyde University about museums.

As a trustee for Dunfermline Athletic Heritage Trust, he also has access to old artefacts and trophies that had been collected over the years. He decided to fill one box with this football memorabilia and a second one with historical items including a candle snuffer, pre-decimal coins, mining lamps, vinyl records and old-fashioned scales.

Already active in the local community, Kenny often visits local care homes to organise bingo games with the residents. It was on one of his trips that he decided to take the boxes with him and was met with an incredibly positive response.

One lady visited the care home daily to see her husband who was suffering from Parkinson’s and dementia. She picked a programme from a semi-final football match in the 60s from the boxes and spent the next 30 minutes ‘getting her husband back’ as he discussed his memories from the match that they’d attended. Sadly, the gentleman passed away a short time later and when the lady came to arrange the funeral, she spent time talking with Kenny about how much she treasured the memory of that visit.

What happens now?

Kenny told us:

The boxes have been taken out over 50 times and have always received a favourable response. I’ve been approached by the public with money to buy things and have received donations of items that people have kept for me to put in the boxes. It’s a great way to connect with people and see them come alive as they relive their memories.”

A version of the box is now being developed containing generic items from over the years that can be added to with local history items. It can then be taken anywhere across the country and enjoyed by other people, helping to make more new memories from old ones.


Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. Thanks for the very kind comments,

    This has the potential for anyone to pick up and run with, please believe me it is the most rewarding thing to do, the response I receive at every visit is so humbling and makes me proud to work for the company

    If I can be of help giving advice to those who are thinking of doing something similar then please get in touch

  2. Excellent Idea. Well done Kenny. Living our four ways of being. great work

  3. I personally think that this is possibly the best idea that anyone involved with the Co-op has had for years, well done, some care homes that specialise in care for those with Dementia etc, actually have ‘touchy feely’ panels on the walls of the corridors, these contain different fabrics, door handles and so forth, the ‘memory box’ is a wonderful idea, well done Kenny.

  4. Nice. Simple. Scaleable. Good work by Kenny.

    Good tool to show a connection to our communities.

  5. Amazing idea – well done, Kenny!

  6. Making a difference with a brilliantly simple idea, great work Kenny.

  7. This is such a wonderful idea, it has inspired me to make a memory box for my Mum who has Dementia, well done Kenny keep doing what you are doing !

  8. Well Done Kenny. This is a lovely way to connect with the community.

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