Understanding the Role of Museums in the Promotion of Health and Wellbeing of Older People

Conference: The European Conference on Aging & Gerontology (EGen2022)
Title: Understanding the Role of Museums in the Promotion of Health and Wellbeing of Older People
Stream: Built Environment
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Dinuo Liu, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
Isaiah Durosaiye, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom


A number of studies have shown that arts, including museum-based arts and artefacts have health-promoting effects on people (Fancourt and Finn, 2019; Todd, 2017). It has also been found that the average age of museum visitors in the UK has been increasing (UK Statistics Authority, 2022), as an increasing number of older people are beginning to appreciate the health benefits of exposure to works of arts (Tymoszuk et al., 2020). However, it is still not clear what types or aspects of museum have the potential to attract older people and produce the associated health benefits. This study will explore the nature and characteristics of museums that are most likely to support the health and wellbeing of older people, using the City of Sheffield as a case study. The study will develop a taxonomy of museums and identify their health promoting characteristics, in order to provide the evidence-base for the positive impacts of museum arts on older people. The final output of this research is a toolkit that can be used to enhance older people’s experience and participation in museum-based art, which could also contribute to supporting “healthy ageing” in the UK. The findings of this study may also inspire museum and related practitioners and contribute to a wider discussion on the role of the built environment, art and museums on the wellbeing of older people.

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