Museum brings together people with memory loss to discuss art


"Questions and conversations about the art may start jogging their memory, which is incredible."

WINCHESTER, Va. (WDVM) — The paintings hanging in the Museum of Shenandoah Valley are there for a special purpose: Helping people with memory loss activate their minds through discussing art.

“There are no wrong answers when you’re looking at art,” said MSV Director of Education Mary Ladrick. “Everybody brings their own experience and it’s really all about being in the moment and looking together.”

Memories at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley gives individuals suffering from any type of memory loss an opportunity to be in a safe environment and allows them to freely express themselves through critiquing art.

“Having memory loss can be a very isolating situation,” said Ladrick. “It provides an opportunity for them to be in a safe environment where there are no expectations with people who understand and people who are like them.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in nine adults 45-years or older report confusion or memory loss, which is not a normal part of aging. Not only did museum visitors say they enjoyed the experience, but everyone was able to participate.

“Verbal skills don’t really matter, you don’t really need to know anything about art history to just look at a painting and talk about what you see,” said Ladrick. “It’s really just about being in the moment and experience the artwork together in a group of people.”

The museum is holding memory tours throughout the month of November.

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