The Happy Museum Project

With thanks to funding from the Happy Museum Project, we are bringing our visitors closer to nature through art and Shakespeare as well as connecting with the local community.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is embarking on a project at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage which will bring our visitors closer to nature through art and Shakespeare. We will be building on existing and creating new relationships with the local community around the Cottage to help us with this project.


‘The Happy Museum Project looks at how the UK museum sector can respond to the challenges presented by the need for creating a more sustainable future.
Our proposition is that museums are well placed to play an active part, but that grasping the opportunity will require reimagining some key aspects of their role, both in terms of the kinds of experience they provide to their visitors and the way they relate to their collections, to their communities and to the pressing issues of the day.’

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Bulb planting in the Woodland Walk

The first stage of our project is now complete. Children from local schools helped us to plant 10,000 bluebell and snowdrop bulbs throughout the Woodland Walk inspiring them to spend more time in the outdoors, be more active and value the green space in their neighbourhood. We have also created six clearings within the woods which will enable local groups and schools to perform and display their artwork.


Inspiring visitors through music

From 23 March 2013, visitors will be able to listen to a new musical composition as they follow the Woodland Walk to focus their minds on nature, Shakespeare and the peaceful surroundings of the Cottage gardens. Commissioned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and composed and recorded by Peter Knight, composer and violinist with Steeleye Span, the music will be inspired by Shakespeare’s works and include readings of his plays and poetry. Visitors will listen to this soundtrack on either their own Smartphone device using QR codes or through a preloaded MP3 player loaned to them for the duration of their visit.

Music and poetry have a proven effect on people’s wellbeing and combining this with the natural surroundings of the Woodland Walk we believe it will create strong feelings of calm and happiness in our visitors – whether they are local residents or have travelled across the world to visit the Cottage.


Innovative ‘Singing Tree’ installation

Working with Ludic Rooms we will transform one of the trees in the orchard into an interactive and innovative installation. The tree will have lights hanging from the branches and a touch sensitive mesh covering the trunk. Lights and sound will be activated when someone approaches or hugs the tree. This installation will show that Shakespeare can be celebrated not just through conventional means, such as exhibitions and performances but through fun and interesting features in the gardens.


Celebrating Shakespeare, the community and well-being in Museums

The project will culminate in a summer garden event for those who have contributed to the project and those who we hope to be working with in the future.

If you are part of a local group or society and would like to get involved with the project, or simply want to learn more, then please do not hesitate to email us for more information.