Museum bringing art ‘out of the frame’ for London’s elderly gets financial backing from City Bridge Trust

The City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, has awarded a grant of £66,220 to The Wallace Collection towards their project bringing art to members of the community who have difficulty accessing the museum, including the elderly and people living with dementia.

The Wallace Collection is a national museum specialising in Old Master paintings, sculpture, French furniture, and medieval and Renaissance works of art. Based in a historic town house in the borough of Westminster the museum has an intimate feel, welcoming around 420,000 visitors a year.

A core aim of the museum is to be accessible and to reach a diverse audience, and to help it achieve this it runs both a school and community programme. The Wallace Collection found that whilst the museum is enjoyed by the elderly, for some it is difficult to access. The Out of the Frame project aims to overcome this by taking the collection out to older people in the community and running specialist events at the museum.

The project is a popular programme that aims to improve the social and mental wellbeing of the elderly by introducing them to artwork, through activity sessions, that they would not otherwise be able to access.

David Farnsworth, Director of City Bridge Trust, said:

“Since the programme begun in 2001 it has grown substantially and is enhancing the lives of many residents across London through the Out of the Frame sessions. It is important that access issues don’t prevent people from seeing and enjoying the amazing works of art that are on display at The Wallace Collection. We are extremely happy to be able to support such a worthwhile project. City Bridge Trust is committed to tackling disadvantage across the capital and making London a fairer and better place to live.”

Anne Fay, Head of Education at The Wallace Collection, commented:

“The grant from City Bridge Trust guarantees that our flagship Out of the Frame programme continues to thrive, flourish and grow over the next three years. Out of the Frame is a programme designed for older people, including those living with dementia, residing in, and visiting care homes and day centres throughout London. Out of the Frame brings the Collection to them in the surroundings in which they feel most comfortable. Using specially designed handling material and reproduction images, Wallace Collection staff are able to engage participants directly with artwork, encouraging learning, discussion and reminiscence.

“Direct contact with artwork in this way has shown to positively impact physical and mental well-being. It also offers a chance to meet new people and have new discussions in an enjoyable and friendly atmosphere. With increasing demand for this service from care homes and day centres throughout the capital, the City Bridge Trust grant has come at just the right time to allow us to grow and develop this programme to its full potential.”

Example of one of the programme’s sessions:

One of the project’s popular sessions is the ‘Ceramic handling session’, which links to The Wallace Collection’s exceptional exhibit of porcelain. They use images of the objects from the collection with several handling items to accompany them, showing the difference between the types of clay, firing and glazing techniques.

An activities coordinator from a Day Centre in Wimbledon said:

Staff from the Wallace Collection brought some ceramic dishes and plates to show and tell to an enthusiastic group of 14 people. Everyone enjoyed holding the ceramics and asking lots of questions. It is great for people to handle objects and learn about the history and background of the topic, as well as looking at the pictures. It would be great to have another one of the sessions in the near future.”

City Bridge Trust is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital.

The Trust has awarded around 7,500 grants totalling over £350 million since it first began in 1995.

It helps achieve the Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.



Media Enquiries

Kristina Drake

Media Officer, City of London Corporation

07710860884 / 020 7332 1125