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Portsmouth Library Service has resources especially prepared for people with
dementia or memory loss. The Memory Collection, on display at Central and
Cosham Libraries, contains sensory and cognitive activities, games and puzzles, as
well as memorabilia to trigger memory. All items are free to borrow for 28 days. Feel
free to browse our collection and borrow whatever you like.

Our Reminiscence boxes, based at Central Library, are large boxes or mini-boxes on wheels that contain themed vintage items from the Museum Service’s handling collection. The boxes are ideal to use by groups in reminiscence sessions. To reserve a Reminiscence box please call 023 9268 8057 or email and you can either come to Central Library to collect it, or we can send it to your nearest Portsmouth Library. Boxes can be borrowed for free for 28 days.

If you have any questions, contact Pat Garrett on 023 9268 8259 or email

Memory Collection at Cosham and Central Libraries

Memory boxes (small boxes of themed reproduced memorabilia). Ideal to use in reminiscence sessions with individuals or groups

  • 1950s Household
  • Motoring
  • 1960s Childhood
  • Seaside Holidays
  • 1970s Childhood
  • Beatlemania!
  • Children’s War

Board Games/Memory Games. Ideal for individual or small group activity

  • Qwirkle (fun, sequencing/co-ordination game)
  • Animal Bingo (audio game matching sound to animal)
  • Call to mind (communication game/tool)
  • Match the song title : vol.1 (song lyric memory game)
  • PicLink (interactive memory picture game)
  • Weekends at home ~ Sensory Snap (tactile match game)
  • Ladybird book cover memory game

Musical games/Reminiscence. Can be used with individuals or larger groups

  • Musical quiz (Name that tune game on CD. Includes music from the 1930s 1960s)
  • Musical Bingo (Name that tune game on CD – match the title to a song ‘bingo’ sheet)
  • Sounds Nostalgic : Voices from the 40s and 50s (Name that voice game on CD)

Card Prompt Collections. Best used one to one or in small groups

  • Reminiscence cue cards : life events 50s/60s
  • Timeslide: Loves album (family themed memory prompt cards 1950-1970)
  • Decades Discussion Cards – 1950s and 1960s
  • Reminisce together : Out and about (15 cards featuring outdoor places and activity)
  • Many Happy Returns 1940s
  • Memory Joggers 1940-1989 (flash cards featuring popular entertainers)
  • Chatterbox 1950s
  • The 1930s scrapbook (large format hardback book)
  • As we were : images from forty years of life in Britain (30 image memory card set from 1940s to 1970s)
  • The 1960s scrapbook (large format hardback book)
  • Timeslide: Animal album (animal themed memory prompt cards 1950-1970)
  • The 1950s scrapbook (large format hardback book)

Scentscapes (Themed memory-prompting scented oils with CD) and scent games to use individually or in small groups

  • At home
  • The tool shed
  • In the garden
  • Trains
  • At the seaside
  • Le loto des odeurs (Follow your nose – game matching the scent to the correct card)

Pictures to Share DVDS (1 week loan). DVD featuring a slide show of images that can be played in communal areas to stimulate memory and conversation

  • Childhood
  • Work and leisure

Creative scenes (Themed magnetic board with 18 magnetic pieces to place/match on the scene). Best used by individuals

  • The tool shed
  • The sewing box
  • The baking cupboard

Dementia Jigsaw Puzzles. Sturdy jigsaws with fewer pieces that can be used by individuals or small groups

  • Hit for Six Mountain View
  • Helping in the Garden Poppy Fields
  • Steam Locomotive Bikini sunshine
  • Man’s Best Friend 1970s High Street

Pictures to share books – hardback books especially designed for people with dementia. Each page has a memory/emotion provoking image. Can be used independently by the person with dementia or as a shared activity

  • A funny old world in pictures
  • In the garden in pictures
  • A sporting life in pictures
  • Childhood days in pictures
  • At the seaside in pictures
  • Shopping in pictures
  • The countryside in pictures
  • Inessential Things : Poems and Pictures
  • Family life in pictures
  • Proverbs and sayings
  • Pets in pictures
  • Travelling in pictures
  • A world of work in pictures

Reminiscence Box Themes at Portsmouth Central Library

Large Boxes

  • A Night Out
  • Make Do and Mend
  • Home Sweet Home
  • What we Wore
  • Royalty
  • Leisure and Pleasure
  • Keeping Warm
  • Memories of Childhood
  • Good home cooking

Mini Boxes (with handle and wheels)

  • A Night Out
  • Royalty
  • What We Wore
  • Hobbies / Make Do and Mend
  • Home Sweet Home
  • Memories of Childhood
  • Leisure and pleasure