New Brunswick

New Brunswick Museum launches project to encourage sharing life stories

“Reviving Our Memories” is a new online activity which that uses art and music to encourage families and friends to share their own life stories with each other.

'Reviving Our Memories' uses art, music to bring back moments from the past

The New Brunswick Museum has launched an online activity to encourage sharing life stories. (Deborah Irvine Anderson)

The New Brunswick Museum hopes the notes of a nostalgic song will bring back distant life moments.

"Reviving Our Memories" is a new online activity that uses art and music to encourage families and friends to share their own life stories with each other.

The museum initially received a grant to create an on-site program for nursing homes but it was cancelled because of the pandemic. The museum received approval to switch the project to a digital activity.

Dominique Gelinas, the head of exhibitions and visitor experience, said she hopes it strengthens connections between older and younger generations.

"At the beginning, I thought it was mostly for seniors, but after that during the development of the project, we realized it's going to become intergenerational," she said. "Because the conversation is really for every age."

During the activity, participants view five pieces of artwork while listening to audio clips. The images are followed by a series of general questions designed to spark conversation. 

Each art piece is connected to one of five themes: memories of concerts, church, school, parties and love.

One of the works is a painting by Julia Crawford of the former St. Paul's Church in Saint John, accompanied by gothic organ music. It is one of the last recordings from a church organ in the city.

Each themed piece of artwork is paired with a different genre of music from classical to rock.

Gelinas said she hopes reflecting and sharing the past brings joy to seniors who participate.

"With all the year we passed through and now the border is open and gatherings are coming, why not really celebrate our living culture and embrace and enjoy being together?" 

The activity and instructions can be found on the museum's website.