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Social impact: Evidence summary

Social impact

Sharing the impact museums can have is an enormously powerful way to demonstrate the value of the sector. 

We commissioned a literature review to collate the academic, peer-reviewed evidence of the impact museums can have, as measured against the outcomes of the Scottish Government's National Performance Framework. 

Below is a summary of our findings. The full literature reviews with bibliography are available here: 

Literature review: education and employability 

Literature review: health and wellbeing

Football memories evaluation

The Museums Association has also produced Scottish case studies to support their Museums Change Lives campaign, available here

NATIONAL OUTCOME: EDUCATION

We are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society

National Indicators

Research Conclusions

Educational attainment

 

·     visible improvement of student learning in the measured population of 4–16-year-olds

·     a positive impact on attainment

·     increased teacher confidence around finding creative ways to deliver the curriculum using non-traditional spaces

·     better understanding of curriculum subjects

·     improved examination grades, written and practical work

Confidence of children and young people

 

·     children developing increased confidence and improved social and communication skills

·     increased levels of interest and motivation

·     inspiration of children and young people at all curriculum stages

Resilience of children and young people

·     developing critical thinking benefiting social norms and values as well as ethical thinking

the promotion of creative engagement leading to entrepreneurial thinking    

NATIONAL OUTCOME: CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

We grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential

National Indicators

Research Conclusions

Child social and physical development

 

 

·     developing critical thinking benefiting social norms and values as well as ethical thinking

·     the promotion of creative engagement leading to entrepreneurial thinking

Child wellbeing and happiness

 

·     children developing increased confidence and improved social and communication skills

·     increased levels of interest and motivation

Children’s material deprivation

 

·     Children and young people from disadvantaged areas reap greater benefits from visiting museums

NATIONAL OUTCOME: HEALTH

We are healthy and active

National Indicators

Research Conclusions

Healthy life expectancy

·     Visiting museums and galleries is associated with increased longevity

Mental wellbeing

·     Museums have a positive impact on mental wellbeing

·     Carers are happier through reminiscence attendance

·     Agitation in dementia sufferers can be eased through reminiscence

·     Museum visitors have a lower rate of developing dementia in later life

·     Communication can be improved through attending reminiscence sessions for those with dementia

·     Reminiscence reduced social isolation

·     Reminiscence can make carers less stressed

·     Reminiscence increases sociability and enjoyment in dementia patients

·     museum objects might trigger personal memories, associations and emotions that could support a deeper level of processing and meaning-making

·     visitors to museums have a lower rate of developing depression

Premature mortality

·     participation in museum activity can reduce chronic pain

·     museums visitors have greater general wellbeing

·     visiting museums makes people happier

·     museums participation reduces stress and anxiety

·     participating in museum activities reduces isolation and increases a sense of identity

museum outreach activities in hospitals have been shown to have a positive impact on patient wellbeing