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AAM releases report on museums and creative ageing

New publication investigates how museums can help to combat ageism

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AAM museums and creative ageing report

The American Alliance of Museums has released a new report entitled “Museums and Creative Aging: A Healthful Partnership.” This calls on museums to change the narrative about growing old in America.

The new report was commissioned by AAM and funded by Aroha Philanthropies, a foundation dedicated to creative ageing. It found that creative ageing programmes in museums can play a role in both supporting older people and in addressing ageism.

Tackling ageism and supporting health ageing

By the year 2050, one in five Americans will be aged 60 or older and today this age group controls nearly 70% of the country’s wealth.

AAM’s report aims to highlight ways that museums can engage meaningfully with the older population, in order to foster healthy ageing. Suggestions include investing in both online and in-person creative ageing programmes, actively working to counteract prejudice against older people and fostering new research and partnerships in line with these goals.

Some ways that cultural institutions could achieve these are by:

  • Facilitating intergenerational programs in artmaking
  • Offering ongoing training in intergenerational understanding and communication skills
  • Investing in a deeper understanding of older people who visit museums and those who do not.

Creative ageing programs are a research-driven educational methodology for older adults, allowing them to engage with artistic practices empowering them to develop their creativity in a supportive, community-based environment.

Creative ageing programming

“Creative ageing programming brings people together, and as we have seen during the pandemic, opportunities to connect and be creative alongside others are essential to the wellbeing of older adults,” says Teresa Bonner, executive director of Aroha Philanthropies.

“As bastions of community and culture, museums have an ethical imperative to embrace the creative ageing movement and to position themselves as places for older people to seek out meaningful social connections, rediscover a sense of purpose, and engage in joyful experiences.”

“Museums can enrich the lives of people at all ages and are essential to increasing access to creative ageing programming across the country, in-person and virtually,” adds Laura Lott, president and CEO of AAM. “This report demonstrates the positive effect museums have on social connections, happiness, and health outcomes for diverse older audiences.” 

AAM is hosting a National Summit on Museums and Creative Aging, which will take place on 29 July 2021, allowing attendees to learn more about creative ageing programming. Registration will open on June 29.

AAM’s Elizabeth Merritt recently spoke to blooloop about the topic in more detail, ahead of the organisation’s Annual Meeting.

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charlotte coates

Charlotte Coates

Charlotte Coates is Features Editor at Blooloop. She is from Brighton, UK and previously worked as a librarian. She has a strong interest in arts, culture and information and graduated from the University of Sussex with a degree in English Literature. Charlotte can usually be found either with her head in a book or planning her next travel adventure.

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