Skip to content

Introducing our Aroha Fellow for Museums & Creative Aging

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog
A painting of a tree against a faded blue background
Credit: Tree Study, second third 1800s. Attributed to Alexandre Calame (Swiss, 1810-1864). Oil; sheet: 23.2 x 16.2 cm (9 1/8 x 6 3/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of Robert Hays Gries 1939.648

I am pleased to announce that, with support from Aroha Philanthropies, the Alliance is launching an initiative to explore how museums can engage with the rapidly-growing field of creative aging. Our new Aroha Fellow for Museums and Creative Aging, Bill Tramposch, will be taking the lead on this work. Bill has forty-three years of experience in the museum field both here and abroad. He is a familiar face here at the Alliance, as he recently completed a term as Accreditation Commissioner and also worked with us years ago as Vice-Chair of AAM/ICOM. This is the Alliance’s first senior, non-resident fellowship—while Bill will make periodic visits to our offices, he will be working out of his home base in Mendocino, California. In this post, Bill introduces himself and his plans for the fellowship. He will be a regular contributor to the Alliance blogs—watch for future posts in which we will provide a number of ways for you to follow Bill’s work and to become involved in this initiative.

Elizabeth Merritt

Vice President, Strategic Foresight &

Founding Director, Center for the Future of Museums




Soon after completing my term on the AAM Accreditation Commission, I realized how much I missed working with colleagues at the Alliance. It’s a very exciting place to be, so with increasing volume this voice in me was saying, “Hey, you’re not finished yet…you’re much too young. Try to get back there if you can!” Then the perfect position description appeared for the Aroha Fellow for Museums and Creative Aging, a position that would enable one to work part-time and remotely. Here was an opportunity to continue in the field while learning firsthand what abundant resources await maturing adults everywhere who seek growth and enrichment.

The demographics are staggering: Every day ten thousand Americans reach the age of sixty-five!

We Americans are also living longer on average, and as we do, we are discovering ways to apply the supposed wisdom of age to realizing aspirations we had only imagined throughout active lives of full-time employment.  The more I read about creative aging the more I am intrigued with how its growing corpus of literature serves as an invitation to museums. Our institutions are such fertile ground for our maturing population. They are places where imaginations are rekindled and where, with every visit, our sense of community and our place in it is reaffirmed.  Museums provide what the Maori of New Zealand call Turangawaewae (a place to stand).

During the next two years I look forward to discussing our field’s potential with you and learning what others engaged in creative aging initiatives have to share with us. To that end I will be actively attending our annual and regional meetings, meeting with leaders and agencies in the creative aging movement, and engaging with colleagues from around the globe on the matter.  During my two-year tenure I will contribute regularly to AAM publications and present at its meetings; and in 2020 I will convene a major conference on the topic, which will be followed by a white paper meant to help us all to take full advantage of our possibilities.

Our efforts will focus on four objectives:

  • Raising Awareness about the pervasive negative effects of ageism;
  • Instigating change by using AAM’s extensive network to disseminate information and tools museums need to implement age-inclusive practices in all areas of operations, including programming, marketing, and hiring;
  • Promoting evaluation and research that contributes to our growing body of knowledge on creative aging, and encouraging application of the latest research findings;
  • And, finally, fostering lasting partnerships between museums and organizations devoted to creative aging.

I hope you share my excitement about where this effort can lead us. With abundant thanks to Aroha Philanthropies and to AAM leadership, we are at the very beginning of something truly exciting here. Please let me know if you have a particular interest in discussing this topic at the 2019 AAM Annual Meeting in New Orleans, or feel free to drop me an email anytime (information below).

Bill Tramposch

Aroha Fellow for Museums and Creative Aging

Mendocino, California

Skip over related stories to continue reading article

AAM Member-Only Content

AAM Members get exclusive access to premium digital content including:

  • Featured articles from Museum magazine
  • Access to more than 1,500 resource listings from the Resource Center
  • Tools, reports, and templates for equipping your work in museums
Log In

We're Sorry

Your current membership level does not allow you to access this content.

Upgrade Your Membership


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Field Notes!

Packed with stories and insights for museum people, Field Notes is delivered to your inbox every Monday. Once you've completed the form below, confirm your subscription in the email sent to you.

If you are a current AAM member, please sign-up using the email address associated with your account.

Are you a museum professional?

Are you a current AAM member?

Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription, and please add to your safe sender list.