Reminiscence Cottage - a National Wool Museum program

The Reminiscence Cottage is an award winning project exploring the world of yesteryear in a hands-on cottage space for all audiences and specifically individuals living with dementia and their care partners.

The Reminiscence Cottage has been designed as a sensory experience reflecting Australian home life from 1930-1950 for people with dementia and their families.

Reminiscence through the senses. For people with difficulties communicating, reminiscence helps them to communicate in different ways, and engages their senses to help release stored memories by using items which may be familiar.

In the Reminiscence Cottage people will connect by:

Eye image for touch Sight:  photographs, paintings, picture books and objects 
Ear image for touch Sound:   music, newscasts and musical instruments 
Hand image for touch Touch:  a range of textures from wool to metal as well as engaging activities to stimulate movement and rhythm 
Nose image for touch Smell:  herbs, lavender bags, baby soap and more

A supporting guide is available to download below with more information on the cottage.

We also offer facilitated workshops for groups. These sessions include: 

  • Facilitated session led by a member of the National Wool Museum’s education team

  • Entry to the National Wool Museum. Please visit our other exhibitions after the workshop 

  • Opportunities to handle a variety of historic items including clothing, books, toys, and tools.  We will 'dress' the cottage with a selection of items around a particular theme.  You can visit several times and 'meet' new items on every visit.

Please call for more information on our program or to book a visit including group visits.

Carer's guide

The Reminiscence Cottage Carer's Guide (full document in Word and PDF formats below) was produced by the National Wool Museum in 2013 by:

  • Sarah Gillies

  • Jacqueline Connor

  • Wendy Gersh

You may use the guide in conjunction with your visit to the National Wool Museum’s Mill Cottage. It has been designed to:

  • support the care giver to better understand the benefits of reminiscence therapy

  • provide a range of activities and ideas that will encourage reminiscing and

  • offer ways in which to work with these ideas and activities at home.

The guide consists of:

  • an explanation of reminiscence therapy

  • reminiscence programs on offer at the National Wool Museum

  • information regarding your reminiscence experience

  • guidelines to care givers when facilitating reminiscence

  • descriptions of the items within the cottage and suggested triggers for remembering

  • links to websites for further support.


  • 2015 City of Greater Geelong Employee Excellence Award - Sara Gillies, Education & Public Programs NWM. Sara’s dedication, understanding and commitment to serving our community is fundamental to the success and development of the Reminiscence Cottage program.

  • 2015 MAGNA Museums and Galleries National Awards Interpretation, Learning & Audience Engagement Winner - Level 1 (project less than $20,000

  • 2014 Victorian Museum Awards Winners Announced ~ The Museums Australia (Victoria) Award for Medium Museums: National Wool Museum for 'Reminiscence Cottage' 12 August 2014 

Page last updated: Monday, 9 January 2023