How can a museum collection bring people in care institutions together?
For the 270,000 people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s in the Netherlands, a visit to a museum is no longer a straightforward matter. It is for this reason that STUDIO i - platform for inclusive culture - brings the museum to them with the Unforgettable Museum Table.
In 2018 STUDIO i launched the Unforgettable Museum Table and the Experience Table. The ExperienceTable is a digital multitouch screen set in a movable, wheelchair-friendly table that can be used for a range of activities in different rooms. The table can be used in care institutions or in other areas of social care. The main purpose of the Experience Table is to bring people together. For example, the table encourages residents of care institutions to take part in joint activities. Besides providing entertainment, it can also provide a healthy boost to the memory.
Unforgettable Museum Table
The Unforgettable Museum Table makes it possible for those living with dementia, and their loved ones, to enjoy art, even if they are no longer able to come to the museum. In addition, the Unforgettable discussion method helps elderly people living with dementia to get in touch with each other. With the help of the artworks from both museums, the ice is easily broken. The Unforgettable Museum Table will be available in more than 400 care institutions by the end of 2019.
The Unforgettable Museum Table draws on the knowledge and experience of:
- five years of Unforgettable Guided Tours for those living with dementia and their loved ones
- research conducted by VU medical centre into the impact of these guided tours
- ten years of experience gained by Onwijs in digital multitouch applications for care (including elderly care) and education.
Art can surprise and connect people, and enrich their lives. Art should therefore be accessible to all, regardless of age, background, faith and/or disability. This is why in 2013 the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven developed the Unforgettable programme for those living with dementia and their loved ones.
During the monthly guided tours and workshops, participants can view works of art that they then discuss with each other. Knowledge about the objects being exhibited is not a requirement; at Unforgettable, the emphasis is on enjoying art and personal experiences. By sharing stories, memories, associations and ideas, the participants bring the museum objects to life. A specially trained tour guide helps keep them on track with stimulating questions and creative assignments.
From small scale to national success
After its success at the Stedelijk and the Van Abbe, the Unforgettable programme was rolled out to other museums in the Netherlands. There are currently twelve museums where people living with dementia, and their loved ones, can attend the Unforgettable programme. The great interest shown in Unforgettable by other museums from other museums and care institutions, is undiminished. This is why the Stedelijk, the Van Abbe and the VU medical centre conducted research into the impact of the Unforgettable programme. The research results, knowledge gained, experiences, training courses and insights have been shared on the website and the corresponding digital publication.