A small, but very interested, and talented group of residents went to the museum recently. This trip was different from any other outing to the museum because the residents went to "Contemplate and Create." That was the name of the program at our local museum, and that is exactly what they did.
The program was basically a tour of specific items in the museum, with narration by the docent highlighting the concepts that we would later put into practice in our own work. There were a few different topics to select from. I choose "assemblage" thinking that it would be the least intimidating.
After the tour, we went to a classroom area in the museum that I never even knew existed. The teachers for this portion of our outing had everything ready for us. They had a plain white box that would become our work area, along with magazines pre-clipped and organized by subjects, pipe cleaners, buttons, corks, straws, small plastic animals, beads, scissors glue, etc., etc. They showed examples and guided us through our own very personal process.
What was neat about this was the bonding that took place with the residents who attended. As some of you know from reading this blog frequently, the community where I work also has two other communities in the area and we run trips together. This trip had about 11 people, but they were from three different locations. While on the bus waiting for the museum to open, I discussed what we were going to do that morning, and asked the group if they had ever done any type of assemblage project. A few had, and they shared that with the group. A few had other artistic interests, but had not worked with assemblage. At the end of the morning, when it was time to put away the glue and the beads, it was another great opportunity to interact. It was like Show and Tell. Everyone took great pride in showing their box and explaining their process and/or subject.
At our museum, this was a free program and is done with students also. It might be worth a phone call or a look on-line to see if any of your local museum's programs could be presented to your group of senior adults. Some museums have outreach programs where they will come to your retirement community. contact their education department. The museum's slow time for having patrons in the museum is usually a good time for our population, so get busy and see how you can enrich your resident's world with art appreciation.