University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Patients and Caregivers Enjoy Shared Evening with an Ancient Egypt Theme

Photo of visitors

In August 2016, the Penn Museum collaborated with the Penn Memory Center (PMC) on a special edition of the Center’s celebrated series of “Memory Cafes.” The pilot program was met with enthusiasm by both the patients with memory problems, including Alzheimer’s disease, and their caregivers and families.

Guests were welcomed to the evening at the Museum by Penn Museum Learning Programs staff members Kevin Schott, Educational Programs Manager, and Megan Becker, GRoW Annenberg Museum Educator and Access Programs Specialist.

The “Café” featured a relaxed opportunity for socializing, as well as handling and learning about some of the Museum’s reproduction ancient Egyptian artifacts, before a guided visit to the Egypt (Sphinx) gallery, and optional attendance at a concert in the Museum’s outdoor garden courtyard. True to the café nature of the event, there was plenty of food and drink for snacking.

Photo of visitors

Both Kevin and Megan made their way around to all the tables in the classroom that served as the Café’s home base, striking up conversations and using the reproduction artifacts to tap into the guests’ curiosity about ancient history and the Museum.

“It was really great to host the Memory Café,” said Kevin. “I had some wonderful conversations. The Museum has so much to offer so many different people, and this was a wonderful first step in reaching out to a new community, one I hope we’ll see more of in the future.”

Megan agreed. “The Memory Café was a notable addition to the Museum’s new and growing accessible offerings, and another means of being responsive to the needs of the community.

“It was also exciting to hear that this first Penn Museum program drew many first-time participants to the Café—people showed an interest in connecting with the wonderful cultural resources this Museum has to offer.”

Penn Medicine’s Sally Sapega was there to follow the story:

Photos: Daniel Burke, 2016.

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