Arts & Minds Training

Arts & Minds Executive Director, Carolyn Halpin-Healy, provides extensive training, ongoing support and mentorship to teaching artists, staff and volunteers in our partner museums: The Studio Museum in Harlem, The New-York Historical Society and El Museo del Barrio.

In addition, we work with museums internationally to advise on development of programs that are mission-aligned to best serve audience needs.  Whether you are seeking to get a new program off the ground or to improve practice in an existing program, we have the experience and expertise to help you.  We assist museums in connecting with their local networks of care professionals, research neurologists and participants.  Our approach, based on experience in the fields of art, dementia care and adult learning, is participant-centered and art-focused. Our training encompasses theory and practice to encourage museum staff, volunteers and artists to grow as effective program facilitators and to share the joy of art.

21 hour Training Program for museum professionals addresses the following topics:

Educator and Staff preparation
• What is dementia?
• Symptoms and Behaviors of AD
• Emotional Needs of People with Dementia
• Needs of Professional and Family Caregivers
Artwork selection
• Considerations for the audience
Art Making
• Developing Effective Workshops
• Accessible Materials
• Inspiring Motivation
Facilitation and Interaction
• Verbal and Non-verbal Communication Strategies
• Active Listening
• Object-based discussions
• Audience dynamic
• Practical considerations specific to the host museum
• Accommodations for visitors

To discuss a custom training program for your museum, please contact Carolyn Halpin-Healy, Co-Founder and Executive Director

Custom Training Workshops are available for medical professionals, caregivers, social workers, and others.

Arts & Minds has provided training for:
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC
The Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
New-York Historical Society, New York
The Jewish Museum, New York
The Rubin Museum, New York
New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans
Dubuque Museum of Art, Dubuque
Museum Serving Elders Professional Development Training Program, Taiwan

All the participants benefited from your knowledge and inspiration. Your contribution will help museum people in Taiwan organize creative aging programs for elders with dementia. It was our great pleasure to have a chance to learn directly from you. Museum people in Taiwan profited enormously from your expertise.
— WanChen Liu, Ph.D., Dean, Tainan National University of the Arts, Taiwan

Thanks to your dedication and innovative teaching, the New Orleans Museum of Art has been able to realize Artful Minds at NOMA.  We are thrilled to be able to offer this program in New Orleans.
— Tracy Kennan , Curator of Education, New Orleans Museum of Art


More museums of every type are expanding their programming to reach the growing audience of people with dementia and their care partners.  While Arts & Minds is rooted in art museums, we also work with museums focused on history, culture, architecture and design, as well as botanical gardens and other living collections. Each training program is custom designed in partnership with the  staff in order to align the mission of the museum with the needs of the audience.

Arts & Minds provides a 12 – 21 hour customized training program for museum staff and docents preparing new programs for people living with dementia. We also offer professional development and support to museums with established programs. Sample 21 hour training program may include the following topics: 

21 hours

Day I

Introduction to Arts & Minds and the History of Museum Programs for People with Dementia
The Social Work of Museums
What is Dementia?
Person Centered Care
The Needs of Professional and Family Caregivers
Art & Compassion – Active Listening

Day II

Impact of Alzheimer’s disease on the brain
Stages of Alzheimer’s disease
Emotional and Behavioral Symptoms of Dementia
Interpreting Behaviors: Behavior has Meaning
Verbal and Non-Verbal Forms of Communication
Communication Strategies
Emotions Outlast the Memories that Drive Them


Choosing Objects and Designing Activities
Program logistics
Focus on Caregivers – Living with Dementia
Art-Making Workshop