Activating the Art Museum: Designing Experiences for the Health Professions, the first book on this subject, offers an argument for collaboration between educators in art museums and healthcare professionals. Through descriptions of teaching practices, the authors bring us into the galleries along with participants to demonstrate the value of art museums in supporting humanism in healthcare for the benefit of both practitioners and their patients.
It includes advice on selecting meaningful and provocative works of art; models of responsive workshop design; compelling descriptions of gallery experiences; references to supporting medical literature; and the voices of medical students, physicians, and other health professionals.
Chapters address key topics including tolerating ambiguity; empathy; interprofessional teamwork; confronting bias; the power of story; caring for the spirit; wellbeing and mindfulness.
This inspiring and practical resource, written by three respected museum educators, is grounded in their experience with multiple individual and institutional partnerships and in designing hundreds of gallery experiences for healthcare trainees and practitioners. This book will be valuable to educators, leaders, and policy-makers in museums and health care. These readers, as well as general audiences with an interest in art and health will be inspired by the potential of art museums to activate our empathetic imaginations and remind us of our shared humanity.
Ruth Slavin has thirty years of leadership experience in art museums, most recently as deputy director for education at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) where she initiated partnerships with faculty in medicine, nursing and social work. Since 2009, she has designed gallery experiences, workshops, and elective courses with and for physicians, residents, and medical students on topics including empathy, complexity and ambiguity in medicine, personal narratives in medical education, and mindfulness.
Ray Williams has established robust partnerships with medical educators and clinicians as the director of education at both the Harvard Art Museums and, since 2012, the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin. He participated in the American Academy of Medical College’s committee on integrating the arts and humanities in medical education and has consulted to the Kern National Network for Caring and Character in Medicine. His work with health professionals in museum settings has focused on interprofessional teamwork, empathic communication, religion and spirituality, and wellbeing. He has a particular commitment to supporting clinicians dealing with grief and loss.
Corinne Zimmermann has been a museum educator for thirty years. Through Corinne Zimmermann Consultancy, she custom designs trainings and workshops for the health professions and business organizations focused on improving communication and team dynamics; cultivating leadership skills and empathic capacities; mitigating biases; and promoting well-being. She is a founding co-director of the Harvard Macy Institute’s Art Museum-based Health Professions Education Fellowship and co-founder of VTS@Work, which offers interprofessional training and certification in the Visual Thinking Strategies.
List of Figures
Foreword: Lisa Howley, American Association of Medical Colleges
Chapter 1: Why Art Museums?
Chapter 2: Thinking in the Art Museum
Chapter 3: Cultivating Empathy
Chapter 4: The Power of Story
Chapter 5: Strengthening Interprofessional Teams
Chapter 6: Confronting Bias
Chapter 7: Caring for the Spirit
Chapter 8: Nurturing Wellness
Chapter 9: Practicing Mindfulness
Chapter 10: Building a Community of Practice
Afterword: Kaywin Feldman, National Gallery of Art
About the Authors
In this timely and inclusive new work, Slavin, Williams, and Zimmerman provide a holistic look at how thoughtfully designed art museum experiences are fostering well-being, empathy, and humanity among healthcare professionals, patients and museum practitioners. The creative and affirming personal narratives and practical applications in each chapter illustrate the value of art museums at a time when their innovative thinking and resources are needed more than ever.
The authors of Activating the Art Museum generously share their first-hand experiences and collective knowledge, providing an invaluable resource to the field of art and medicine. Bringing together museum-based activities and the research that supports them into a single source for the community is an exciting contribution to this growing discipline.
An excellent presentation of the ways art museums engage in innovative programs with health professionals by connecting the fields of art and medicine. Written by three renowned museum educators the publication offers keen insights into the need for thoughtful collaborations, approaches to teaching in the galleries and addresses important themes such as empathy, storytelling, nurturing wellness and more that give new insights to this important new field of interpretation.
Weaving together powerful storytelling with clearly-described activities, this inspiring book explores how art-museum-based experiences can profoundly support the development and well-being of today’s health professionals. Indeed, the book will be compelling to anyone interested in activating the power of art to spark meaningful conversation, develop human connection, and build caring and equitable professional communities.
Complementing their own reflections, Slavin, Williams, and Zimmermann have thoughtfully collected a compelling set of case studies, programs, and insights from art museum educators, medical practitioners, as well as healthcare and museum leadership. A must-read for anyone curious about the creative and inspiring ways to connect art with medicine, care, and healing.