Museums have long been pillars in America’s educational infrastructure, but officials say increasingly, museums of all types and sizes — including The Hyde Collection — are integral to U.S. health care, supporting medical research and training, initiating therapeutic programs for those with memory loss, children on the autism spectrum and veterans with combat-related illnesses, and inspiring healthier nutrition and behavior.
“This report showcases just one of the many ways museums have become essential community assets and service-providers,” said AAM President Ford W. Bell.
“In addition to conserving and exhibiting our natural, scientific, cultural and historic heritages, museums also meet urgent community needs, and in today’s America health care is very much at the forefront of our field’s commitment to public service.”
Among the museums highlighted is The Hyde Collection, included for the Alzheimer’s program “Memories in the Making.”
Museum staff, trained by the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeast New York, provides people living with the disease and their caregivers an opportunity to see great works of art followed by a watercolor painting process that encourages storytelling and unlocks memories of people, places, and things important in the lives of the participants, according to museum officials.
According to officials, caregivers report that the program positively impacts mood, sociability, and conversation.
The Hyde Collection conducts “Memories in the Making” by request on-site for families and groups and off-site at The Wesley Health Center in Saratoga Springs, The Emeritus at The Landing in Queensbury, and Westmount Health Center in Queensbury. The program was developed by the Alzheimer’s Association of Orange County, California, and is supported locally, in part, by the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust and CDPHP.
This report details 10 aspects of the health care field where museums are making significant contributions. Specifically, they are Alzheimer’s, autism, disease prevention, health literacy, hospital outreach, medical training, mental health, military and veterans health, nutrition and wellness, and visual impairment.
Moreover, AAM officials say the museums that have initiated programs addressing these issues represent the breadth of the museums field: art museums, children’s museums, history museums and historic sites, natural history museums, science-technology centers, public and botanical gardens, zoos and aquariums.
“For too long, elected officials and other policy makers have viewed museums as amenities, rather than as essential community anchors,” Bell said. “This report is but a glimpse of the many public services provided by museums to our communities, all across the country. Health care is a prime concern for leaders and average citizens alike, and museums are clearly striving to meet those needs.”
For more information on the unexpected work being done by museums in the fields of education, social welfare and public safety, among others, visit the Alliance website at www.aam-us.org.
The American Alliance of Museums is the largest museum service organization in the world, serving all types of museums, including art, history, science, botanic gardens, zoos, and aquariums. It helps museums serve their communities by developing standards and best practices, offering professional training and resources, and serving as the national voice of museums for the public, media, and elected officials.
Working on behalf of 17,500 museums, 400,000 museum employees, thousands of volunteers and the visitors who come to museums 850 million times each year, The Alliance is dedicated to bolstering museums in promoting lifelong learning, celebrating cultural heritage, and inspiring the creative skills to compete in a global economy.