DAM: Making Memories When Few Remain


Posted Tue, Jul 17, 2018

Jan, a DAM docent volunteer, engages with the Art & About attendees to share information about this photograph. [Photo: Lisa McIntyre]

DENVER – A dozen people gathered July 12, under the angular ceiling of the Denver Art Museum (DAM), 100 W. 14thAve. Parkway, for the monthly Art & About Tour, specifically designed for those with memory loss and their caregivers. The program seeks to make fine art experiences accessible to those who otherwise may stay cooped up at home due to aging or illness.

The tour is part of a larger accessibility initiative that, according to their website, seeks “to establish a safe, welcoming, and respectful environment that ensures the widest range of people will enjoy, learn from, and be inspired by their is it to the museum.”

Danielle Schulz, coordinator of Adult & Access Programs at DAM said, “Our Art & About attendees have varying degrees of dementia and the care takers are also looking for some stimulation, so we are constantly finding ways to improve the experience for each of them.”

Docents meet to learn best practices to work with people with memory loss and their caregivers. [Photo: Lisa McIntyre]

The 12 participants were taken to a small meeting room to get to know one another over tea and snacks. They were then divided into two groups of six, each with their own set of volunteers, trained to work with memory loss. Portable, light-weight seats were provided as they toured the museum, stopping to learn about various large pieces where the docent asked questions, explained techniques, and shared the artist’s process. Volunteers called each of them by name and encouraged participation in the hour they spent together.

Danielle Schulz is the coordinator of Adult & Accessible Programs at Denver Art Museum. [Photo: LisaMcIntyre]

“We also have tactile programs for those with low vision, and low-sensory events for people with autism,” Schulz said.

Brant Robert of Evergreen attended to learn more about the program on behalf of Center for the Arts Evergreen. They would like to incorporate accessible programs at their museum.


For more information on Denver Art Museum’s Access Programs:

Denver Art Museum
100 W. 14thAvenue Parkway
Denver, CO 80204
DAM Access Programs Link

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