January 23, 2014  |  Learning and Engagement
A Video Is Worth a Thousand Words: Online Learning with The MoMA Alzheimer’s Project

I’ve racked up a lot of frequent flier miles working with The MoMA Alzheimer’s Project. My colleagues and I have had the great pleasure of traveling to places like Amsterdam, Tokyo, and Alexandria, Louisiana (population: 48,000) to facilitate training workshops on how to use art to engage individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Due to these efforts, and to the dedication and initiative of our colleagues worldwide, over 100 arts institutions have committed to implementing and supporting educational programs for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their care-partners.

But the fact remains that there’s only two of us staffed on the Project’s training initiative, while interest in learning more about serving individuals with Alzheimer’s disease remains vast. And as much as we’d like to, we can’t be in Kansas City, Vienna, Boulder, and Zurich all at once. So a while back we started thinking about harnessing the reach of the Internet to make our training workshops accessible to a broader audience. The MoMA Alzheimer’s Project already has a stunning website, through which we’ve made our written resources available free of charge. So instructional videos seemed like the next logical step.

A screenshot of our new training videos, available online at

A screenshot of our new training videos, available online at

One year, two film shoots, three video editors, and countless cups of coffee and (tearful) computer crashes later, we’re so pleased to present 10 new videos on how to facilitate art discussion and art-making programs to people with Alzheimer’s disease. Content is applicable to museum educators, recreation therapists, personal care-partners…frankly, anyone who may be interested in learning how to use art to engage individuals with dementia, regardless of setting or situation. The videos outline our general teaching methodologies, goals, and approach, while also covering nitty-gritty topics like how to select and sequence artworks for your group discussion, or what to do if a participant finishes his or her art-making project before the rest of the group. Throughout, we share clips from our programs in action, so viewers can get a sense of how things look and feel in MoMA’s studio classrooms and galleries. Viewers can watch all at once, or in installments—focusing solely on “Art Making: Educator Preparation,” for example, or “Art Discussion: Tips & Tools.” We’re so pleased to be able to bring some of the lessons we’ve learned through many years of working with people with Alzheimer’s disease to the online community. Our hope is that these new video training resources will encourage another 100 museums to take on this exciting and rewarding work.


I just watched a few of these videos and am impressed by the thorough, step-by-step explanation of how to structure these classes. As a teacher, I find these extremely helpful even though I’m not working with the population these have been designed for. You take such care to scaffold participants to a truly a meaningful experience with the art. Thank you for sharing! I will definitely refer to these in my future teaching.

Alzheimer and for other diseases need more holistic approach.Art can improve quality of life and cost.As an artist I believe this kind of work need to continue developing.Thank you for responsibility.

This is an amazing project and I commend the MoMA team for what they are doing for patients, caregivers and administrators. I hope to see more organizations utilize this work to bring this issue to the forefront and help patients find a community and find their voices.

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