Eighty percent of those who attend a “Discover Your Story” tour at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts have never been to the MIA before this program. Additionally, these tours can result in public relations and community outreach opportunities that can raise a museum’s public profile. It can also lead to new grant writing possibilities, as many foundations are eager to support programs for the growing population of those with memory loss.
This is the most consistently rewarding program that we run because the joy and interaction between participants is mood altering and puts the daily grind of museum education into perspective. The comments from care partners about how much the program has changed their lives — they really say that — fuels my tank. I cannot encourage other organizations enough to start a program for people living with memory loss. You won’t regret it!
– Heather Casper, Curator of Education, Minnesota Marine Art Museum
Working with people challenged with memory loss was a new adventure for our museum and education team — and a bit of daunting proposition, when planning and thinking logistically. We were grateful for these resources to pull from, allowing a smoother path to implementation. Starting this program has rejuvenated all our education staff. We have learned to value patience, kindness, and the joy of process. Art should be about the process, not the product. Developing new relationships, valuing the internal creative spirit, and providing a safe, fun, and engaging experience for visitors is what this program has been all about!
– Trisha Blasko, Curator of Education, Racine Art Museum
Volunteering with the program at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts has been one of the most enriching extracurricular activities of my medical school experience. It has humanized and deepened my medical understanding of memory loss. I have developed skills I will use as a future physician, including how best to stimulate conversation and serve as a comforting presence. This program is a novel way to strengthen and connect with the community.
– Hannah Carlson Donohoe, Medical Student, University of Minnesota
As a medical student, I have volunteered to be a companion to guests with memory loss on docent-led museum tours. This program allows for a rare opportunity for medical students to interact with a patient population that they are bound to encounter no matter what field they go into. We learn to see them as people rather than as patients.
– Mayank Verma, MD/PhD Student, University of Minnesota