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Museums can combat ageism with creative programming, report finds

“Creative aging programs, a research-driven educational methodology, can empower older adults to develop their creativity while they make and strengthen community connections and friendships. Commissioned and funded by Aroha Philanthropies, the report, Museums and Creative Aging: A Healthful Partnership (70 pages, PDF), found that seniors are becoming a larger portion of the world’s population, and older Americans control almost 70 percent of the nation’s wealth. The report’s authors recommend that museums engage with this population by investing in a diverse array of onsite and online creative aging programs and working to combat society’s prejudices toward older people and fostering new kinds of research and partnerships to advance the museum sector’s goals.”

Point of View: Why Creative Aging? It’s More Than Personal—It’s Societal.

From the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Field Notes:

Navigating the senior care system for a creative, intelligent aunt in her eighties, this veteran arts administrator [Maura O’Malley] discovered a gaping need for high-quality programming that gives older adults a sense of joy, purpose, and belonging. Decades later, she’s at the forefront of a research-backed movement to do just that, with her organization Lifetime Arts. Read her perspective on how museums can get involved.

Cover art: Museums and Creative Aging: A Healthful Partnership

Museums and Creative Aging: A Healthful Partnership

From the AAM website:

This landmark report commissioned by the American Alliance of Museums and written by Marjorie Schwarzer is a call to action for museums to change the narrative about what it means to grow old in America. Opening with an overview of aging and ageism in our country, the report documents actions being taken to foster positive aging, profiles the work of museums providing creative aging programming, and shares lessons learned from the Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums initiative of Aroha Philanthropies.

Screenshot of a 3-D, augmented art exhibition.

Careful Planning and Continuous Refinement: Online Programming Success for Museo de Historia, Antropología, y Arte

Having been a member of the 2019-2020 Aroha’ Philanthropies’ Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums cohort, Museo de Historia, Antropología, y Arte had some experience delivering remote creative aging programming when they applied for and received additional funding from Aroha to design and deliver a new, fully-online visual arts program, La Vida es un Arte 2.0, (Life is an Art Form 2.0).

Drawing on lessons learned in spring 2020 when they moved a visual arts program online due to strict COVID-19 quarantine and lockdown measures, Museo’s team planned the new offering. Delivery format, the stability of internet access, technical support, and an engaging culminating event online would all present challenges to the team. Through careful planning and continuous refinement, La Vida es un Arte 2.0 drew raves from 40 participants who learned how to draw with materials found in the home during 4 two-hour sessions each offered in September and October 2020.