Reminiscence Cottage at the National Wool Museum in Geelong was designed 
has been designed as a sensory experience reflecting Australian home life from 1930-1950 for people with dementia and their families.
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. 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.


  • Staff at Reminiscence Cottage at the National Wool Museum in Geelong.
  • Alzheimer’s Australia.
  • Groups and individuals are welcome to visit the cottage independently or to experience a reminiscence workshop.
  • Volunteers and associations representing Alzheimer’s patients.
  • Students of the medical faculty.

The Reminiscence Cottage Carer’s Guide was produced by the National Wool Museum in 2013 by: Sarah Gillie, Jacqueline Connor and Wendy Gersh.

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.
The Awards judges commented: “the project was a beautiful piece of work and a very powerful exhibition that benefited members of the community by recreating the familiar and bringing joy to visitors. It should be seen as a great case study in innovation and best practice for other museums by stepping outside their usual area of expertise”.
The ‘Reminiscence Cottage’ project, developed in collaboration with Volunteering Geelong and Alzheimer’s Australia, was envisioned as an immersive space which feels safe and familiar for visitors with dementia and prompts reminiscence through sight, sound, touch and smell. The cottage was designed to replicate a 1930s-1950s Australian household. Visitors are supported by volunteers to engage with furnishings and other items and encouraged to recount their memories.