University collections to be used in Hallmark Ageing Research Initiative project

A striking group of Early Bronze Age vessels from the University’s Middle Eastern Studies Collection, recovered by Professor Paul Lapp’s excavations at Bab edh-Dhra in the Dead Sea plain of southern Jordan, are among the cultural materials to be explored by a group of older visitors at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, in a research project entitled The Role of Cultural Institutions in Facilitating an Age-Integrated Society.

Recognising that museums are some of the most intergenerational learning environments that our communities possess, this multidisciplinary project funded by the Hallmark Ageing Research Initiative (HARI) aims to explore how cultural institutions can play a stronger role in the challenges and opportunities linked to global ageing populations.  We know that as repositories of stories, cultural heritage, and personal and social memory, museums are extremely well placed to appeal to visitors of all ages. But how do – and how should – museums engage with older visitors, taking into account all factors from the exhibitions and programs, through fitouts, to architectural design and urban planning? Focus groups, composed of people over the age of 60, are being run at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, in late January, and at Museum Victoria and Shepparton Art Museum in February and March, to explore and evaluate all aspects of these museum environments. The longer-term aim of the research is to provide cultural institutions with the data and tools to better cater to all generations and facilitate intergenerational communication through their activities, programs, exhibitions and physical environments.