Silver and Gold: Celebrating Age-Friendly Manchester

Silver and Gold: Celebrating Age-Friendly Manchester

“When I retire I’d like to move to Manchester”

A busy city, with no sea views … perhaps from the outside, the city might not look like it would make for the perfect retirement venue. However, over the last week Manchester Museum has been a place of celebration, and a testament to how Manchester is changing the way it thinks about older people, and perhaps more importantly, how older people are thinking about Manchester!

Manchester Museum has become, for a huge number of visitors, a ‘museum for life’, and this idea is at the core of the museum’s cultural offer as we are moving forward into the new and exciting Courtyard Development. From our early years and families, to schools and researchers, our events diary is packed full of things for all ages and interests, but this week particularly our focus has been on older people in the museum.


Age Friendly Museums Day

Manchester Museum is a part of the Age Collective, a collaborative partnership including the British Museum, Glasgow museums and National Museums of Northern Ireland which listens to the voices of older people, explores the needs of diverse communities, develops and shares good practice and is committed to finding new and creative ways of collaboration, encouraging better engagement with older audiences across the UK.

As more museums are striving to be more age friendly than ever before – so much so that the idea has been formalised, and there is even an ‘Age Friendly Museums Day’. This is an annual event, taking place across the country during the first week in October – an opportunity for museums, galleries and arts professionals to develop their work with older audiences and to showcase and celebrate the work they are already doing with older people.

At Manchester Museum, our celebration has taken the form of a string of events which have succeeded in showing that age is not a barrier for engagement or participation, that with age comes a whole variety of unique experiences and skill sets. And it hasn’t just been about the visitors – this has been an opportunity also to give thanks to our older volunteers and to showcase their contributions to cultural venues across the city.

This has included Age Friendly Taster Tours, on Age Friendly Museums Day (5th October), led by two of our volunteers, Arnold and Linda – along with some very other exciting collaborative events and initiatives …

Silver Sunday

Silver Sunday is an annual day of fun and free activities for older people across the UK, celebrating the value and knowledge they contribute to our communities while combating loneliness and isolation. And this year it was held on Sunday 2nd October

This celebration coincided with the Spirit of Manchester Festival, and some of the older volunteers from both Manchester Museum and Manchester Art Gallery got involved to share some interesting objects and stories from the collection. This special handling table proved very popular, with visitors of all ages finding out about our ‘Culture Shots‘ collection – with objects selected for their connections with health and well being …

Silver Sunday is an annual event organised by the Sir Simon Milton Foundation. The first ‘Silver Sunday’ was organised by Christabel Flight following a report showing that more than a third of people over 75 said they were lonely. The aim of the event was to celebrate the older generation, helping them get out and meet new people.

Each year, Silver Sunday has increased in its levels of participation and popularity, gaining the support of Joanna Lumley and Michael Parkinson and other celebrities and politicians.


Golden Moments

The activities continued on Monday 3rd October with an event in partnership with Age Friendly Manchester, bringing together volunteers from museums and galleries across Manchester to celebrate their contribution, and share their experiences and find out how they can get involved in other roles.

Manchester’s volunteers getting involved and sharing their experiences and celebrating their role as Manchester Museum moves forward into its new phase of development.


Golden Moments – Volunteers shared their thoughts, ideas and contributions to the museum on paper leaves, to add our tree, filled with the turning colours of autumn.


North West Stroke Community Choir performing on the Living Worlds gallery at Manchester Museum as part of the Celebration of Older Volunteers event.

For many people, Manchester is already a great place to grow old, but now even more so, with the Manchester Ageing Strategy, A Great Place to Grow Older, 2010-2020, the vision for the future is a city in which people thrive as they age.

From birth, ageing is something that we all have in common, so whether you want to do it gracefully, disgracefully, or perhaps creatively – there’s something at the cultural venues across Manchester for everyone!

Michelle and Judith

Here are some links if you want to get involved!
Age Friendly Museums Network
Age Collective (British Museum)
Age Collective Manifesto
Manchester Museum – Events
Health and Culture
Campaign to End Loneliness – Culture Champions Age Friendly Manchester
Manchester Museum – Age Friendly Manchester
Age of Creativity
Manchester Museum – Museum Comes to You
Manchester Museum – Coffee Cake and Culture
Dementia Friends – Our Age Friendly Work
Silver Sunday
Culture Shots – Health and Culture

For more about the museum’s public programmes please visit Museum Meets.

And read more community stories from the Visitor Team;
Climate Control: Bringing It Together
Volunteers’ Week: What is a dinosaur?
Talk English – Birds and Butterflies
IF Volunteering
Keeping in Mind – Dementia and Museums, Part 4


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