A Case Study of Art Museum Educational Programming for Persons with Dementia and their Care Partners
AuthorRomero, David Reuel
museum educational programming
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractPersons diagnosed with dementia or with an intellectual disability and their care partners frequently are marginalized by society (Innes, Archibald, & Murphy, 2004). In the United States, the dementia community is growing because of an aging population and increasing numbers of persons with brain injuries (Hurd & Langa, 2013; Plassman et al., 2011). This qualitative case study investigated inclusive museum programming for persons with dementia (PWDs) and their care partners. It focused on participants from Tucson Museum of Art’s (TMA) Memories in the Making program (MIM) and examined: (1) museum and art education strategies, (2) the use of other disciplinary theories, and (3) how universal design influences the intellectually disabled museum visitor. Using a constructionist lens and single case study methodology, the investigation examined: 11 interviews from museum professionals, docents, artist/educators, and care partners; art pieces produced by the participants; and programming materials. The theoretical frameworks of Kübler-Ross (1974, 1969), Boss (2016, 2007, & 1999), and Schlossberg (1981) were used to analyze issues of grief, loss, and human development. The study findings affirmed that: (1) museum dementia programs strengthened the relationship between PWDs and the care partners, (2) shared experiences had a positive effect on both, (3) there is a need for effective educational strategies for visitors with intellectual disabilities, (4) environments of creativity and self-expression are needed, even when impediments exist. Results suggest that further investigations are warranted into how to strengthen, expand, and sustain museum and art educational programming for those members of the intellectual disability communities. Keywords: dementia, intellectual disabilities, care partners, museum educational programming, museum inclusion
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Art History & Education