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Do You Offer Something for People Like Us? A Short History of the Development of Dementia-Friendly Activities in the National Museums of Vienna

From the book Arts & Dementia

  • Friederike Lassy-Beelitz


In the 1990s, state museums in Austria came to the conclusion that seniors were an important target group for their marketing efforts. Art education specialists developed attractions for seniors and, in doing so, learned that, to a large extent, the success of such attractions is dependent on the physical and mental health of its participants. At the same time, a need was identified for museums to be made more accessible to visitors living with special needs, with the result that activities for people living with dementia were finally developed. The demographic outlook was reason enough to address this particular issue; added to that were external demands, as well as each individual museum’s own need to become a successful, inclusive facility. In comparison with visitor flows in other types of education provision, numbers of attendees do not warrant a program; nevertheless, dementia-friendly educational formats are widespread today, and not just in Austrian museums.

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