Smithsonian Museum for Dementia
The “Museum for Dementia” is proposed to the Smithsonian Institution with the purpose of fully transforming a museum-based program into a holistically physical museum. It will serve as a community means of changing museum offerings for visitors with Alzheimer’s and other related dementia disease. More and more seniors develop memory loss due to the changes of stress level and a fast-paced society that they have faced every day. There have been trends and initiatives spreading all over museums in the country on developing programs that can help people with cognitive impairments; especially those who struggle with memory loss after renowned MoMA’s “Meet Me” program for dementia patients. The museum focuses mainly on creating a secured, inviting, and engaging museum environment that can address mental health, which includes Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders. Through the use of non-pharmaceutical methods, such as “Multi-sensory Environment” concept that helps stimulate the five human senses, people living with dementias have a new and fascinating experience which allows social interaction and encouragement. The building will have several divisions: art gallery, interactive learning, research center, and retreat. The first three portions will be open to the public through ideas of using sensory design for visitors with dementia, AR and VR technology for general audiences, and academic resources for those who want to learn about the disease. The retreat portion will be made up into a calming indoor-outdoor facility where specific patients at their final stage of the disease, caregivers, and staff members can release anxiety and reboot their energy. The mission of this project is to provide a meaningfully outstanding experience for the seniors, which are categorized as one of the most vulnerable communities among the whole demographics. It strives to enable those living with dementia to continue to enjoy arts as quality of life as well as promoting a social experience where everyone is welcomed along with the care partners as equal participants.