‘Collections make connections’

International Museums Day has come around again and this year’s theme is ‘collections make connections’.

At Memory Box, we’ve always aimed to connect communities across the world, enabling people to see the past in a new light and discover things we never knew about the people and places in our lives. It’s always inspiring listening to somebody speak about an event or moment in their lives that meant something to them. The little details and personal insights that get missed out of the history books add a new layer to the stories that make up our personal and collective roots.

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When we first started Memory Box, we were running story workshops with a group of people from a community in the North East of England. ‘I don’t have a story to tell’ was such a common phrase in the first couple of sessions. Seeing this group of people get together to listen to each other’s memories and stories – sharing laughter, nodding in acknowledgement, finding common ground and realising that actually people were interested in what they had to say and that their fleeting insight into a moment in time meant something was incredibly rewarding. By the end, it was lovely seeing the sense of pride the participants felt for their completed stories. Despite being varied in subject matter, the collection of these stories together provides a living archive of voices and photographs all coming together to tell the story of the communities we are all connected with and part of.

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Here’s a selection of stories from our collection. In June we’ll be updating our app so individuals across the world can create their own collection of stories and add to the ever-growing Memory Box community. Sign up now for a sneak peek and to be one of the first to try Memory Box out.

Heaton Station – with communication a challenge during the war years, one Royal Marine found a unique way to let his family know he was safe.

Three Years at the Seaside – an incredible story about childhood memories of being an evacuee during the Second World War.

Curtain Up – remembering the divide of theatres and cinemas on either side of the River Tyne in the 1950s.

Before and After – a memory of encountering an Italian prisoner of war in 1943.