The Sounding Out Your Heritage project

Author: John Stevenson, Chrissy Stower, Kim Klug and Fenella Hunt

Owner GEM

Date published 2010

The SOYH project brought together groups of over 60s from a wide variety of backgrounds across Kent and Medway over a series of learning sessions. These sessions provided learning support to the participants to help them explore an aspect of their heritage that interested them and produce a resource which would enable others to learn about their heritage too.

“Sounding Out Your Heritage is all about getting over 60s together in small groups to explore times gone by and record their personal stories. Working together over a number of weeks, participants made some fantastic resources: story books, audio CDs, leaflets, posters, a memory box and a sensory quilt.” – Dr John Stevenson, director, GEM

The participants made some fantastic resources: CDs, posters, leaflets, an object box and a sensory story quilt. Take a look at these – and listen to some of them below. Read more about SOYH in the Project Book (pdf).


Brompton – A Well Kept Secret

The Time of Our Lives – Memories of the Residents of Cranmer House

Posters and Leaflets

The participants from Windsor House produced a series of posters (pdf): Bathing Beauties, Come to Sunny Whitstable, On the Beach and Show a Leg!

And leaflets:
Cinema: My Life in Film – Ed Haben (pdf)
Entertainment: A Lifetime on the Stage – Alvena Bird (pdf)
Food & Drink: Memories of a Pub Landlord – Donald (Dickie) Bird (pdf)
Rock Collecting: A ‘How To’ Guide for New Collectors – Margaret Phipps (pdf)
Sailing: Memories of a Reluctant Sailor – Ley Liberson (pdf)

View the how to guides on recording oral history and making special interest posters and leaflets.

An old suitcase with 1940's  memorabilia.

Memory Box

Over eight sessions a group of participants from Cranmer House, a Canterbury City Council owned sheltered accommodation, worked together to produce a CD and an object box. The group honed their stories and chose objects that best represented them.

The object box is a case full objects that tells many stories, rather than a case of “every picture tells a story”. The object box, with a copy of the CD has been donated by the group to the Canterbury Museum for the museum to use in helping other groups to achieve a project such as theirs.

View the how to guide on making a memory box.

Story Quilt

The residents of Edward Moore House, an Abbeyfield Kent Society care home, made an interactive story quilt. Not only can people view and touch the quilt, but they can also experience music and dance through scent and sound. There are press buttons that play snippets of the participants’ favourite tunes. Hidden pockets contain floral scents that are reminiscent of corsages and bouquets. The story quilt reflects music and dance as an experience rather than specific individual memories.

View the how to guide on making a story quilt.

An older woman interacting with a story quilt.

To inspire and help care and heritage professionals, we have collected our experiences and lessons learned together in GEM’s Best Practice Toolkit. If you want to use learning to improve health and wellbeing in older adults, then read the SOYH Best Practice Toolkit.

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