Guide to dementia-friendly arts venues published - Museums Association

Guide to dementia-friendly arts venues published

Practical guidance features case studies from NML and Manchester Museum
Profile image for Rebecca Atkinson
Rebecca Atkinson
The Alzheimer's Society has published a free guide for museums and other arts venues on how they can make their facilities and services more accessible for people affected by dementia.

The Dementia Friendly Arts Guide offers best-practice advice to staff in three key areas: community engagement, accessibility and programming.

This includes building partnerships with organisations that work with people with dementia and carers, and listening to what people want and what their needs are.

Training staff in dementia awareness and considering the physical, intellectual and emotional barriers to access are also covered in the guidance, as is helping people access existing programmes and incorporating dementia-friendly elements.

The guidance signposts key resources, publications and research that organisations can use when making the case to do this type of work or putting in funding applications.

And it features information about National Museums Liverpool’s House of Memories project, Manchester Museum's dementia friends champions and the creative workshop programme run by the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London.

The Alzheimer's Society said in a statement: “Aspects of socialising and remaining independent can be difficult when a person develops dementia and after a diagnosis people can feel isolated and unable to visit the venues and partake in the activities they have come to enjoy.

“This guide gives arts venues, of all sizes, the opportunity to pick and choose from practical guidance and to create a dementia-friendly approach tailored to their organisation.”

In his introduction in the guide, the chairman of Arts Council England, Peter Bazalgette, said: “Encouraging cultural spaces to share good practice with one another and giving them the confidence to put changes in place is really important. Even some of the smallest changes highlighted in this guide will make a huge difference to those living with dementia and to their families and carers.”

Alistair Brown, the Museums Association's policy officer, said: “We hope that this practical guide will be of real benefit to museums across the country which want to take the first steps towards becoming dementia friendly venues. We believe that it’s important for museums to be accessible to the growing number of people with dementia, and for museums to play an active part in improving their quality of life.”

There are more than 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, and it is increasingly recognised that arts and heritage organisations can have a positive impact on their physical and mental wellbeing.

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