Empathy Museum: A drag queen’s heels and a miner’s boots: show lets you walk a mile in their shoes

In the latest part of her ‘empathy museum’, Clare Patey invites audiences to put on a stranger’s footwear and take a walk while listening to the shoe-owner’s personal story on headphones


In 2013, Barack Obama gave a speech arguing that the “empathy deficit” in American life was just as urgent an issue as the federal deficit. Patey agrees that empathy is lacking – and that it can be transformative…


The idea for an “empathy museum” was dreamed up by Roman Krznaric, author of Empathy: Why It Matters, and How to Get It. He approached Patey with the idea after experiencing some of her pop-up museums that have included the Museum of Me, in which visitors were invited to curate mini museums of themselves in tin cans (there were 35,000 of these mini time capsules, now all archived), and the Museum of Emotions which, unlike traditional museums that value objects, valued feelings and created spaces that evoked them and where they could be expressed.


Lyn Gardner