Discover Your Story at the MIA

Organization Associated with Program
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
2400 Third Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404

The Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) is dedicated to providing equal access to its collections and programs. In partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota-North Dakota, the MIA’s Department of Museum Guide Programs has developed a tour program for older people living with memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and related neurocognitive disorders. Discover Your Story tours engage individuals in the early and middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease, along with their family, friends, or care partners, in discussions focused on thematically related artworks in the museum’s galleries. Participants are encouraged to discover themselves while reminiscing about, reflecting on, or comparing their own life stories to the stories in works of art.

Discover Your Story tours are made available in two ways: groups can reserve a space in advance according to their needs, or a person with memory loss and a friend can register in advance by telephone for regularly scheduled tours on the second Friday and Saturday of each month. All tours are free; pre-registration is required.

Program History

In 1883, 25 citizens of Minneapolis founded the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, committing themselves to bringing the arts into the life of their community. More than a century later, the museum they created stands as a monument to a remarkable history of civic involvement and cultural achievement. Its mission is to enrich the community by collecting, preserving, and making accessible outstanding works of art from the world’s diverse cultures. MIA is one of the largest arts educators in Minnesota. More than half a million people visit the museum each year, and a hundred thousand more are reached through the museum's Art Adventure program for elementary schoolchildren. The museum's free general admission policy, public programs, classes for children and adults, and award-winning interactive media programs have helped to broaden and deepen its roots in the communities it serves.

Launched in 2008, Discover Your Story at the MIA began with a pilot program in collaboration with an adult day center. The program has continued to expand since its founding and served 780 people in 2012.

Program Assessments and Evaluations

The program is evaluated on an ongoing basis by staff and partner organizations through the use of surveys, attendance numbers, follow-up calls, interviews, and individual assessments.

Advice for Other Organizations Conducting Similar Programs

Strongly consider developing a program for people with early or mid-stage Alzheimer's disease or dementia. It has been extremely rewarding for staff and the community.

Kinds of creative engagement/ program focus Creation of Original Work, Viewing Artwork, Participate in a Class, Participate in a Workshop
Arts Discipline: Folk/Traditional Arts, Literature, Visual Arts
Interdisciplinary Connections: Education, Health / Medicine, Volunteerism
Target Audience: People with Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia
Adaptive Program Design Cognitive Disabilities
Program Setting: Arts Organization
Program Service Area: Suburban, Urban
Type of Practice: Field Tested Best Practice