Museums and Creative Aging
“Discrimination on the basis of age is as unacceptable as discrimination on the basis of any other aspect of ourselves that we cannot change.”
― Ashton Applewhite, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism
By 2035, there will be 78.0 million people 65 years and older in the US (compared to 76.4 million under the age of 18). This demographic shift makes it more important than ever that we change the cultural norm of marginalizing older members of society. We need to combat the loneliness and isolation that often cripple aging individuals, and find ways to harness the knowledge, experience, and creativity of this growing population.
While the aging of America presents museums with challenges of retention and access, museums are positioned to play a major role in building social connections, nurturing creative expression; providing opportunities for meaningful work; and enhancing health, wellbeing, and lifelong learning.
The Alliance’s creative aging initiative helps museums:
- Combat ageism through all areas of organizational operations, including programming, marketing, accessibility, and hiring
- Study the latest research on the transformative power of creativity and arts programming
- Form lasting connections with organizations working in the creative aging sector
- Start new initiatives, programs, services, and partnerships in support of creative aging
You can engage with this work via the following projects:
Museums and Aging: A vibrant blog on museums, arts and aging
This series of posts on the Alliance blog aims for the highest and best exploration of arts and aging, with a focus on museum practice. The Museums and Aging blog features essays by luminaries in the field of creative aging shares examples of museums working with communities “fifty-five and better,” and summarizes current research in the field.
Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums
The Alliance is collaborating with Aroha Philanthropies and Lifetime Arts to usher a museum cohort through their creative aging program, Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums. This program has been designed and tested over the years with a variety of cultural organizations; now twenty museums are participating and you can follow their stories on the Museums and Aging blog.
A National Convening
In summer, 2021, the Alliance will host a virtual convening exploring how museums are engaging with individuals “fifty-five and better.” Panelist will present research, innovation, and best practices to help museums improve services to and strengthen relationships with older audiences. Stay tuned to this page for details and registration.
This initiative is made possible with the generous support of Aroha Philanthropies.