Just over 700 visitors joined us to go round the mix of activities from making pipe-cleaner brain cells to slipping on a lab coat and having a go with some of the equipment our researchers use (pipetting blue stuff, just like on telly!). The children’s trail with ‘Brian the brain’ proved popular with our younger visitors, helping them see where to go and adding some extra brainy facts and challenges.
As important as the activities, were the conversations that were had. Visitors had an opportunity to talk directly to researchers from the University of Leeds (and Prof Hooper’s group back over from Manchester) about the work they do researching into Alzheimer’s Disease, the most common form of dementia.
The conversation was continued through our ‘Thought Wall’ where we invited visitors to leave their ideas on the research priorities for dementia in the future. Even our smallest visitors got involved with this by drawing pictures of ways we could help people with dementia in the future. My personal favourites were the ‘Name-o-tron’ spectacles that automatically display somebody’s name when you meet them (I suspect this has a larger market than just people with dementia!) and all the remarkable memory bank devices.
We are very grateful for all the staff and volunteers who gave up their weekend to make this event such as success, including our student helpers, volunteers from the Leeds branch of the Alzheimer’s Society and Leeds Peers Support Group. And of course, thank you to Leeds City Museum for being such a wonderful host and to all our visitors for braving the rain on Saturday and coming despite the glorious sunshine on Sunday.
Juliet Jopson, Engaging with Dementia project coordinator