Carnegie Museum of Art Hosts Workshop for In the Moment—A Program About Making Art Accessible to People Living with Dementia. December 6 Conference is Open to the Public and Free with Registration
Pittsburgh, PA… Carnegie Museum of Art will host a workshop on December 6 that brings together researchers, health professionals, and museum staff for discussions and demonstrations on the therapeutic effects of art gallery experiences on Alzheimer’s and dementia patients and their caregivers.
The one-day event will feature speakers from the Greater Pennsylvania Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, The Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at The University of Pittsburgh, and the Alzheimer’s Project at The Museum of Modern Art. MoMA successfully pioneered Meet Me at MoMA, a program that offers art gallery tours to people with dementia and their caregivers.
The conference will also include reports from Carnegie Museum of Art staff, who have been working with residents and staff of Woodside Place, a Presbyterian Senior Care facility in Oakmont to develop In the Moment, a program modeled after Meet Me at MoMA, which offers specialized art gallery tours to individuals with early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
“We’ve found that the tours offer a compassionate momentary respite from the suffering of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as social and mental stimulation for the patient and caregiver alike,” said Mary Ann Perkins, docent program coordinator at Carnegie Museum of Art. Perkins works closely with museum docent Kathe Patrinos, who conducted most of the tours employing strategies very similar to those used in MoMA’s art and dementia programs.
The conference is open to the public and geared towards anyone interested in learning more about these innovative art programs, particularly staff from local senior care facilities, art educators and administrators, medical professionals, and caregivers or relatives of people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Presentations will include current perspectives on Alzheimer’s disease from experts in the field; information about The MoMA Alzheimer’s Project, including audience-specific methodologies for constructing tours and discussing art; reports on the benefits of art museum experiences for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers; and the positive outcomes already achieved with In the Moment.
The museum’s education department will be expanding the In the Moment program in May 2011 to offer more tours to a larger audience, including individuals with dementia who live outside a residential facility, along with their family members or caregivers.
“People with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers often feel isolated, and that is especially true with those who live at home,” said Marilyn Russell, chair and curator of education at Carnegie Museum of Art. “After seeing the success we’ve had with patients from care facilities, we want people with dementia who still live at home to enjoy a visit to the museum.”
The December 6 conference is free. Sign-in begins at 8 a.m., with presentations starting at 8:30 a.m. There is an optional afternoon session open to the public and limited to 40 pre-registered participants. The afternoon session costs $10 and includes lunch and demonstrations in the galleries by staff from The MoMA Alzheimer’s Project. Space is limited, and registration is required for both the free morning session and the optional afternoon program. For more information or to register, please call 412.622.3288 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Art Tours Improve Quality of Life for Patients
Research into art gallery tours for people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia has found that patients who take part in such programs experience an improvement in their mood, cognitive function, and social interaction. As part of The MoMA Alzheimer’s Project, made possible by MetLife Foundation, MoMA and the New York University Langone Center of Excellence for Brain Aging and Dementia conducted a nine-month research study in 2008 to evaluate the efficacy of the Meet Me at MoMA program. Researchers observed the tours, recorded impressions, compiled before-and-after questionnaires, and organized detailed focus groups with participants. The study provided empirical evidence of overall improvement in mood for a majority of participants, as well as evidence of intellectual stimulation and positive social interaction. The study also documented the benefits of a shared experience of viewing and discussing art in an accepting environment. The findings of the study suggest that other programs like Meet Me at MoMA can bring enjoyment and stimulation and improve quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers. The positive effects of such programming could have major ramifications for the development of interventions for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their relatives.
About Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Dementia is a general term for a group of brain disorders, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50 to 70 percent of all dementia cases. Dementia affects core mental abilities such as language, problem-solving, and short-term memory. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and fatal brain disease that destroys brain cells as it impedes memory, thinking, and behavior.
General operating support for Carnegie Museum of Art is provided by The Heinz Endowments and Allegheny Regional Asset District. Carnegie Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Carnegie Museum of Art
Located at 4400 Forbes Avenue in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, it is nationally and internationally recognized for its distinguished collection of American and European works from the 16th century to the present. The Heinz Architectural Center, part of Carnegie Museum of Art, is dedicated to enhancing understanding of the physical environment through its exhibitions, collections, and public programs. For more information about Carnegie Museum of Art, call 412.622.3131 or visit our web site at www.cmoa.org.