Museums for the Demented

Art, drivel, Medicins sans frontal-lobes

In the never-ending search for some socially redeeming purpose in “art”—I don’t mean actual creations in sculpture, portraiture, illustration, music, etc.; but layabout-supporting grants and foundations—someone in England has decided the art thing might be good for dementia.

From Museum Next:

In recent years, museums have trialled [sic] and tested a broad range of initiatives designed to be dementia friendly. From light therapy to counselling, massage to cognitive behavioural therapy, cultural institutions are constantly looking at how they can cater for a vulnerable audience and complement clinical care. Undoubtedly one of the most successful treatments deployed in museums, however, is reminiscence therapy.

Reminiscence therapy has long been proven to benefit the wellbeing of people living with dementia. By looking back to memorable periods in the past, sufferers can improve their self-esteem, lower stress levels, boost communication, and enhance their overall quality of life in the present. What better place to complete reminiscence therapy than in a museum?

The Museum of London’s Memories of London Programme does just that. Providing on-site and outreach activities, the dementia-friendly museum gives sufferers the resources and support they need to connect to their history and enrich their everyday lives. Participants share and listen to stories, and use museum collections creatively to spark memories.

Such programs open broad new “professional” opportunities for people seeking non-career careers. It’s the old “accessibility” racket, on a par with busing criminals and asylum inmates to the gala Morris Dance competition in Sambourne Fishley.

Once you get credentialed in this specialty, you can impose your skills on any museum that comes your way.

Training is essential to improving accessibility credentials and ensuring that dementia-friendly provision is in place. Dementia sufferers face many challenges, particularly when it comes to communication, memory, mood, emotions, and behaviour. This can be daunting to museum staff not equipped to handle any unexpected or volatile situations…

Staff training should also recognise the importance of empowering people with dementia and easing any fears or nervousness they might feel.

With the right programmes in place, museums and galleries can reach out to ensure community engagement, accessibility and appropriate support for people with dementia. Often this involves the provision of tools, techniques and therapy aids that can be utilised by families and carers.

The article is hilariously vacuous, but perforce repetitive.


Author: Cooper Ward

Cooper Ward hails from Lake Plains, IL, which he describes as “the flattest place east of Nebraska.” He enjoys watching cooking shows and listening to semi-classical music.