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At the Phillips, Just Take the Stairs

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog
Today’s guest video is introduced by Dorothy Kosinski, director of The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

For me, the future of museums has a lot to do with supporting an overall sense of well-being for our visitors and community. In our founder Duncan Phillips’s words, The Phillips Collection is about a “joy-giving, life-enhancing” experience with art and, I believe, that extends off the walls to the health and wellness of the people within them. That’s why we’ve gotten involved in Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens, part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s ambitious Let’s Move! campaign, which aims to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation.

Sure our visitors can’t run or rappel through the galleries, but we can encourage kids of all ages to make a simple, healthy choice when they visit the Phillips: just take the stairs! Employ this strategy while following our 90 min @ the Phillips self-guide, and your feet will take 2,500 steps—that’s about a mile of masterpieces. With our all-ages Discovery Pack smaller feet can achieve a half mile, engaging with art and each other along the way.

Since the First Lady’s initiative focuses on youth, we tested our hypothesis—that a visit to the Phillips facilitates both art appreciation and fitness—on a young and active bunch. They climbed stairs, engaged in vigorous discussions about art, and, after an energetic hour in the galleries, were ready to unwind with a healthy snack. See their reactions for yourself in the above video.

It’s great to find art museums using their environment—inside and out—to promote physical activity. I’ve seen examples of museums creating hiking trails on their grounds, doing yoga in the galleries. But I wonder—are there any art museums out there addressing issues of obesity, body image, attitudes towards food, etc., through their exhibits? Please use the comment section below to share any examples you know of that fit that bill!

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Interested in exploring what your museum can do to help your community with food issues? Join us for Feeding the Spirit, a national symposium being held in Pittsburgh on Oct. 13. Feeding the Spirit is the result of collaboration between AAM’s Center for the Future of Museums, the Association of Children’s Museums, the American Public Gardens Association, Phipps Conservatory and Public Garden and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. 

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