ARTZ Museum Network

Organization Associated with Program
ARTZ: Artists for Alzheimer’s
130 New Boston Street, Suite 103
Woburn, Massachusetts 01801

ARTZ: Artists for Alzheimer’s® conducts free, interactive museum experiences for people living with memory loss and their caregivers by partnering with museums around the world to facilitate discussions and tours. The ARTZ Museum Method promotes inclusion, self-expression, and creativity, with all discussions facilitated by trained ARTZ docents, who recognize the ability of every participant to contribute regardless of cognitive ability. At the conclusion of each museum event, participants reflect on their role as a contributor and how the museum experience affected them. Feedback and critique are encouraged for program refinement.

ARTZ museum programs have been developed in Massachusetts, New York City, Pennsylvania, Sacramento, San Francisco, the United Kingdom, Paris, and Australia. Both viewing artwork and art-making are key components of the program. Arts programs are led by professional artists with many years of training in the arts. The ARTZ Museum Network serves over 1,000 participants per year.

Program History

The program was initiated in 2003 through a partnership with the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In 2006, ARTZ became an independent, self-sustaining program within MoMA’s Community & Access Department. In 2007, ARTZ partnered with the Louvre on the creation and implementation of the first dementia-inclusive museum program in Europe. ARTZ Museum Partners also include the Peabody Essex Museum, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, the Fuller-Craft Museum, the De Cordova Museum and Sculpture Park, the Larz Anderson Auto Museum, and the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art.
This program has spurred the development of many permanent community programs run by ARTZ including Meet Me at the Movie and Make Memories, the ARTZ Volunteer Network, the It Takes a Village Dementia Support Network, and a traveling art exhibit, “I’m Still Here: Dementia and Creative Expression.”

Program Assessments and Evaluations

This program is evaluated on an ongoing basis through the use of attendance and level of engagement data, feedback from participants, and press reviews. Evaluations are conducted by ARTZ staff and staff of the related agency or partner organization.

Advice for Other Organizations Conducting Similar Programs

There are many vital components to creating a successful arts program for older adults, including:

  • Conducting community outreach;
  • Creating education partnerships with arts and culture organizations;
  • Conducting training for museum staff and volunteers;
  • Evaluating the museum physical design for accessibility;
  • Conducting comprehensive evaluation including focus groups, interviews, and an introductory pilot program that enables a trial period for working on several areas of the process.
Kinds of creative engagement/ program focus Viewing Artwork, Participate in a Workshop, Watch a Lecture/Demonstration
Arts Discipline: Museums
Interdisciplinary Connections: Education, Health / Medicine, History, Science, Volunteerism
Target Audience: Caregivers - Family, Caregivers - Professional, Frail Older Adults, Intergenerational, People with Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia
Adaptive Program Design Hearing Disabilities, Visual Disabilities, Mobility Disabilities, Cognitive Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities, Psychiatric Disabilities
Program Setting: Arts Organization
Program Service Area: Rural, Suburban, Urban
Type of Practice: Field Tested Best Practice