September 27, 2020

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Mauritshuis launches Unforgettable, guided tours in Dutch for people with Alzheimer’s disease

From December the Mauritshuis will offer special guided tours in Dutch for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. The programme is offered in cooperation with Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven.

During the Unforgettable Mauritshuis tour the participants will view a number of paintings from the collection and be encouraged to talk about them. Unforgettable focuses on the enjoyment of art; no prior knowledge is required. By sharing stories, memories, associations and ideas, participants interact with one another to bring the objects to life. The guide encourages interaction with creative assignments. Each month will focus on a different theme.

Mauritshuis Director Emilie Gordenker: ‘Unforgettable Mauritshuis is a true example of the power of art to bring people together and to offer meaning and depth to our common experience.’

During the Unforgettable tour the emphasis lies on what we can all enjoy – an engaging and inspirational museum visit. By looking at works of art, people with dementia can exchange ideas with their nearest and dearest without having to seek recourse to their short-term memory. The guided tour opens up long-term memories and personal experiences, stimulating social contact. Research shows this to be beneficial to health: those taking part in the Unforgettable tours said afterwards they felt happier and had regained a sense of being valued. The experience boosts self-confidence and feelings of self-esteem. Through Unforgettable the Mauritshuis offers a safe and stimulating environment in which participants can meet other in the same circumstances.

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven initiated the Unforgettable programme in 2013, modelled on Meet Me at MoMa, a programme set up by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. As we live longer, more and more people are being confronted directly or indirectly with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, a condition for which there is as yet no known cure. There is an increasing demand for activities for this group and their caregivers, their partner, family members, friends or acquaintances. Unforgettable is designed to meet this demand. In recent years the programme has been implemented by the Stedelijk Museum and the Van Abbe Museum in ten other museums throughout the Netherlands with financial aid from the Gieskes-Strijbis Fund. The Mauritshuis completes the line-up.

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