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Creative Aging Reading List, Part Two: But wait, there’s more!

Category: Alliance Blog
Photo by Eugenio Mazzone on Unsplash

As the Aroha Fellowship for Museums and Creative Aging progresses, one of the delights is receiving notes from blog readers. A number of colleagues have sent further reading ideas for my list, and I am particularly grateful for the feedback we have been receiving on the “sessions most worth having” at the national convening on creative aging, November 5-6, 2020, at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Thank you. If you would like to answer the survey and haven’t yet, you can find it here. We will keep the survey open for another few weeks, but already we are noticing a huge leaning towards the following topics:

  • Ageism is Real: Raising awareness of ageism in museums
  • The Creative Aging Movement and Its Implications for Museums
  • Getting Started: Organizing creative aging programs in your museum
  • And, of course, Getting Funded: Funding potentials for creative aging initiatives

At the convening, we are privileged to welcome Ashton Applewhite, author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, as our keynote on day one. I am tempted to announce day two’s keynote, but while there is great enthusiasm on his (only clue) part to join us, we are still finalizing plans. Watch this space!

Now, speaking of Ashton and This Chair Rocks, I am listing below some other good reads regarding creative aging. The topic is somewhat addictive once you get started on it, and I think that is because every book’s message seems so well-suited to museum thinking, especially as we consider the awesome reality of the demographics: every day more than ten thousand Americans turn sixty-five; and it is increasingly likely, according to gerontologists, that age 100 may be the new seventy-five. While we can take some relief in the fact that we are not directly responsible for overseeing the Social Security system, we should be on high alert as to what that means for us. What opportunities await to enhance our services and programs for active older adults and, more so, what exciting challenges face us as we strive to engage those who have traditionally been underserved by our institutions? I read the following books with such notions in mind, and I believe that you too will find these resources stimulating:

I want to add one other outlier of a book. The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot does not directly address the nature of creative aging, but it is a paradigm of what one is drawn to during what some call the “legacy” portion of life, a time of reflection and contextualizing. The author, Robert MacFarlane, travels the heritage paths of the UK, each one shivering with its own history. It is an inspiring read, and reminiscent of those great writers (like Whitman, Wordsworth, and Nietzsche, to name a few) whose very thoughts flowed from their steps.

If you have further suggestions, please continue to keep in touch. We are all exploring the potentials of creative aging together.

Enjoy the reading and remember that we are planning the following as features of the creative aging fellowship:

  1. A special issue of AAM’s bi-monthly Museum magazine dedicated to museums and creative aging, which will come out in October of 2020
  2. Sessions on creative aging at both the San Francisco and Chicago AAM Annual Meetings, in 2020 and 2021, respectively
  3. And, finally, a major national convening totally devoted to the topic of museums and creative aging at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta in November (5-6) 2020.

All of these are made possible by the generous support of Aroha Philanthropies, a true leader in the crucial field of creative aging and, in this regard, a significant investor in the future of American museums.


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Bill Tramposch

Aroha Senior Fellow for Museums and Creative Aging

American Alliance of Museums

Mark Your Calendars: The American Alliance of Museums is holding a national convening on museums and creative aging at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta from November 5-6, 2020.

We are receiving excellent feedback on our survey regarding those topics you believe to be of most importance to their work. Let us know your thoughts! It only takes a moment!

Also, we are seeking guest bloggers who would like to share their thoughts and experiences in creative aging efforts. Just let me know if you have something you would like to contribute. It could be anything relevant: an upcoming conference, a program you have developed, a perspective you would like to share, etc. We are greatly enjoying the conversations these blogs are engendering!

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1 Comment

  1. You are right about this being an addictive topic to read about once you begin. Great choice in keynote speakers with Ashton Applewhite, I have become a huge fan of her work. After listening to her you can not help but begin to see ageism everywhere. Another great resource is, the anti-ageism clearinghouse started by Ashton.

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