Museum of Memories Family Activities
Your first love...
Your biggest disappointment...
The hardest you ever laughed...
That embarrassing time you...
These activities and discussion guides have been created so that families can use Museum of Memories as an inspiration to talk about life—all of life. And hopefully, through this piece of theater, parents and teens will be able to talk about their own memories and experiences together. Memories of the best times—vacations, celebrations, first loves—and also times of challenge—loss, shame and disappointment. This Family Activity is broken into four parts and was created after consulting with the artists of NIE Theatre. We hope these activities and resources will enhance and deepen your experience at the theater.
Before coming to see Museum of Memories, explore your memories and make a time capsule as a family with this Pre-Show Family Activity.
We recall important memories not by searching through a mental file cabinet but by the recollection of smell, sound, taste. In this activity, recall memories and moments in your family lives and document them on a timeline so you'll remember them.
Materials: Printable Memory Prompts templates (one per person), printable Family Timeline template, writing utensils
Step One: Individually fill out some of the prompts on the Memory Prompts template:
Step Two: Once your Memory Prompts have been filled out, share them with one another. Were there any surprises? Did anyone recall the same memory?
Step Three: Together, choose which memories you will mark on your Family Timeline template. If you can't remember exactly when it happened, work as a family to reconstruct your history!
A time capsule is a fun way to capture memories and mementos from a specific time in your life. Make a family time capsule to be opened at a later date!
Materials: A shoebox (or similarly sized box) for each person in the family
Step One: Decide what you would like to put in your time capsule and when you would like to open it. The longer you wait the more interesting it will be! Here are some ideas of things to include:
- A recent picture of yourself with three words written on the back of how you would describe yourself at this time
- A picture of your family/friends of a moment you always want to remember
- A symbol or memento of your current interests
- Today's newspaper
- A letter to your future self predicting who you will become, including a few memories that you think have shaped who you are today
- A hope for the future: what do you hope will change in the next 5 to 10 years?
Step Two: Share your time capsule with your family. Ask each other the reasons behind each item you've chosen.
Step Three: Place your items in the box and seal it shut. Write the date in large writing on the top of the box. Put it in a safe place and set a reminder in your calendar to open your time capsule!
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After you've seen Museum of Memories, reflect on the show and tell stories as a family with this Post-Show Family Activity.
After seeing the show, have a conversation with your family about your experience.
Materials: Paper, writing utensils
Step One: Pass out three slips of paper to each family member
Step Two: Every family member should write down a moment they remember from the show, one memory per slip of paper.
- Paper 1 – A moment that you loved
- Paper 2 – A moment you have a question about
- Paper 3 – A moment you thought was missing from the story
Step Three: Collect the slips and put them in the middle of the table. Pick up one at a time and read them aloud. Once a moment has been read, discuss what everyone thinks: What did you think about that moment? How was your experience the same or different? Do feel similarly? Why or why not?
Researchers spend their lives trying to understand the nature of memory. As a family, explore the who, what and where of memory.
Step One: As a family, have a conversation about memory using these questions as a starting place:
- What is memory?
- How do we store memories?
- How do we recall memories?
- Are memories true?
- Can memories change?
Step Two: Share these facts with your family. What surprises you about this information?
- Memory has two components—short-term and long-term. Most short-term memories only last 20 to 30 seconds.
- The storage capacity of the human brain is virtually limitless.
- Sleep is important to memory. Although scientists don't know exactly how it affects the brain, it has been shown that sleep aids storage and retrieval of long-term memories.
- Your memory can associate a scent with a certain event or occurrence. A smell can trigger the memory in your mind associated with it. The hippocampus is the part of the brain largely responsible for the formation of new memories and directly interacts with our sense of smell.
- There is such a thing as "false memory." Researchers are beginning to understand that the human mind can create, exaggerate, distort, or re-invent a memory after a traumatic experience or something that impacted them greatly.
- The mind must be exercised just like any other muscle in the body. The harder you think about a memory, the more likely you are to remember it accurately. Thinking will create a stronger link between active neurons.
One story can be told a in multitude of ways depending on who is telling it. Thinking back on a family memory, would your family recall the same things that you would? In the same way?
Materials: Paper, writing utensils
Step One: In Museum of Memories, we saw some memories replayed multiple times from different characters' points of view. How did they shift or change? What stayed the same?
Step Two: Think back on a memory where you are with other people (e.g. a birthday party or a family dinner). Write down the details of your memory and be as specific as possible!
Step Three: Now write the same memory from the point of view of another person who was also there. How was the story the same? How was it different?
Step Four: Share it with your family.
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Certain topics can be difficult to broach with your kid. Whether you have already seen Museum of Memories or are planning to come this weekend, here are some tips to start, extend and deepen those conversations.
NIE Theatre's Museum of Memories is an intimate piece of theater in which the main character, Markus, has taken his own life. The show also deals with relevant but mature content for teens, including sex, drinking and smoking. The artistic company has performed this production for many teen audiences around the world and would like the audience to experience this engaging story without preconceived ideas about what they will see. They ask that you share very little about the fact that the main character takes his own life prior to you and your family seeing the show.
"This production was made out of a need and a wish to make a piece of art that addressed difficult themes as death and suicide inside a frame that could give an extended space for reflection. Both these themes are, in many societies and cultural contexts, looked upon as taboos. My aim has been to open up these taboos, and to create a physical and mental space where it's OK to laugh and cry, to be a spectator and participant." — Kjell Moberg, Director
For many young people, this production could strike a chord. We encourage you to think of this show as a piece about choices. However, if you believe watching the show will trigger your kid, we suggest having a conversation with them first and then check in about the issues and themes again after the show.
This is an opportunity for you to learn what your kid thinks, what they understand, what they have questions about and what connections they might be making to challenges in their own life. Here are some prompts that can get you started:
Before you see the show:
- What do you think the story of your life is? What has made you... you? What do you think will happen next in your life?
- "Do you ever have that feeling that things are going too fast? I mean that things are going so fast that you can fall off?" — Markus, Museum of Memories. Do you or your friends ever feel that the world is spinning too fast? Are there moments that you ever feel sad or lost? Are there moments that feel exhilarating?
- What are your strongest memories of your life? Why do they stand out?
- "Without memories we would break every promise, and we would not find value in anything. There would be no reason to embrace another human being if we had no memory. Memories are the glue that keeps our inner world together." — Markus, Museum of Memories. Do you agree with this quote? What role do your memories play in your life?
- Museum of Memories is a show about love and loss. Are there any shows you've seen or stories you've read about love and loss that have stuck with you?
After you've seen the show:
- Were you surprised that there was a death by suicide in this show? What did the show make you think about or wonder? What questions do you have about the show?
- Were there any moments in the show where the characters made choices that you found challenging or questionable?
- Can you think of any other pieces of art (dance, visual art, music, theater, etc.) that address real-life issues? Why do people create this kind of art? Do you think it's important to make this kind of art? Why or why not?
- If you were to create a piece of theater that included a challenging subject, what topic would you choose? What would the story be about? What characters would you create? What music would help you tell the story?
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The Jed Foundation has helped us compile a list of information and resources around issues of mental health, suicide and loss.
Here are some common signs that a friend needs help dealing with emotional issues or a mental health problem:
- Depression or apathy that interferes with obligations or participating in social activities
- Lack of coping skills around day-to-day problems or extreme reactions to certain situations
- Extreme highs, referred to as mania, that may include rushed thoughts, bursts of energy, sleeplessness and compulsive behavior (like excessive spending)
- Severe anxiety or stress
- Constant feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Abuse of alcohol or drugs
If you see these signs, it is important to remember that you aren't a therapist and it isn't your job to provide treatment. Your role is to be supportive and encourage them to reach out to family, a counseling center or another medical professional as a first step—even if you don't fully understand the problem or its severity.
Despite your good intentions, your friend might be reluctant to accept the possibility that they could have an emotional disorder and they may not react to support in a positive way. They might say that the best way to help is to “back off” or ignore the problem, but it is important that you adhere to the following:
- Enable them by covering up for missed obligations
- Continue to participate with them in behaviors (like drinking) that are agitating their mental health
- Back down on the importance of seeking help—remember, many emotional disorders require professional support and aren't something people can fix on their own
- Feel like you are going behind your friend's back if you think it's necessary to tell someone else about the problem without your friend's consent
Taking on the burden of a friend in emotional distress can be extremely stressful and draining so remember to recognize your limits and take care of your own emotional health.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 24/7 Crisis Hotline
SAMHSA National Helpline – Free and confidential information in English and Spanish for individuals and family members, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
||What memories did you share from your shoebox?
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Artwork by Katie Diamond
For each show in the season, we post a new Family Activity. Bookmark NewVictory.org/FamilyActivities to discover how you and your family can continue your theatergoing experiences at home.