about the Museum of East Anglian Life

The Museum is situated in Stowmarket, Suffolk and the site includes...

  • 15 historic buildings
  • Over 40,000 museum objects
  • A variety of farm animals, including those that represent the Suffolk Trinity
  • 75 acres of beautiful countryside
  • A centre for community activity 
  • And, an award winning social enterprise
  • Over 150 volunteers

Happiness at MEAL

For more information see out website

Since 2009 the Museum of East Anglian Life has been exploring ideas around, happiness and wellbeing.

While the world around us gets more depressed by headlines about tackling climate change, high oil prices and how to survive in a world of financial meltdown, we have been asking two big questions…

Image of polaroid photos
are we happy?


what can we do to increase our sense of well-being?

At MEAL we have been exploring these questions and attempting to take on board some of the principles and tools developed by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) to help us.

New Ecconomics Foundation

NEF are an independent think-and-do tank that inspire and demonstrate real economic well-being. Their aim is to improve quality of life by promoting innovative solutions that challenge mainstream thinking on economic, environmental and social issues.

MEAL have also been working with NEF on the Happy Museum Project (see bottom of the page).

Why Happiness?

The Museum of East Anglian Life has been exploring what makes people happy. Can we learn from how people lived in the past and what we can do to increase people’s sense of connection to other people and the world around them?

So far we have explored historic happiness through three small exhibitions:

This website is a repository for all the work that went into these projects so that we may bring our work to a wider range of people.

The Happy Museum

Museum of East Anglian Life is leading the Happy Museum Project. This aims to create a community of practitioners committed to re-imagining museums for a sustainable, high well-being future. The New Economics Foundation, MEAL and some museum thinkers recently produced a paper The Happy Museum (Download The Happy Museum PDF).

Find out more at www.happymuseumproject.org.