The Living Memory Association has been around since 1986 in various locations but now thrives on the second floor at Ocean Terminal where around one hundred people of all ages and nationalities pop in each day, sometimes for a quick look and sometimes for a long browse.
Primary school children, handling the wide variety of objects on display, ask what some of them could possibly be used for. Brought up with light-touch computer keyboards, they exclaim at how hard they have to press the keys of the old typewriters to make an impression. Dialling a number on the old telephone “takes ages” to a generation raised on push buttons and speed dialling. They find it hard to believe that teachers were actually allowed to thrash children of a bygone era with the leather tawse. Some things don’t change, though and they can quickly get the knack of keeping a yo-yo in motion or clicking the lever of a View-master to look at a succession of pictures of Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat etc.
Older people nostalgically handle the Box Brownies, recalling posing for family snaps or turn the handle of the Singer sewing machine, remembering their mum making their party frock. Sometimes music floats through the room as somebody picks out a tune on the piano or shoulders an accordion to recreate a Jimmy Shand moment. The smell of a National Dried Milk tin or a pretty little bottle of Evening in Paris or even a chunky bar of Carbolic soap from the ledge of the scrubbing board can be powerfully evocative.
A lot of the household gadgets and old woodwork tools bring memories flooding back and visitors from as near as Leith and as far away as Australia find common ground as they reminisce and tell their stories to each other.
The Wee Museum of Memory's Practical information
The Wee Museum of Memory is open 10.30am-4pm weekdays and 11am-4pm weekends.
Find us on the second floor next to Britannia, at Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ.
11, 22, 34, 35, 46, and 200.
Parking and access
Disabled access is excellent. Wheelchairs and mobility scooters can be hired for free from Ocean Terminal reception (more information about this on Ocean Terminal website).