Members Only Section
Mental Wellness for Museum Staff and Visitors
Presenter: Susan Ward, MA, MS, LPC
Museums can help their staff, their visitors, and their community with regards to mental health and wellness. This year has brought new levels of stress and anxiety into everyone’s personal and professional lives.This session will address easy-to-implement techniques that staff can integrate into their daily lives, whether at home or work, that will help reduce anxiety, calm the nervous system, and build emotional resilience. These include self-calming tools that can be used individually, as well as approaches that can be integrated into staff and board meetings. When it comes to visitors, inspiration, creativity, and curiosity are practices that bolster mental wellness—museums already provide these. Attendees will learn a wide range of strategies that museums can incorporate so as to build mental wellness while continuing to improve their visitor experience. Some of these are small tweaks that can be implemented quickly and easily. Others are larger and will take more planning, but have the potential to foster mental wellness as part of a collaborative approach with other museums as well as within the larger community. Mental health issues, whether they are on-going daily stress, depression, early childhood trauma, grief and loss, isolation, autism, or more, can all be helped as museums add a mental wellness component to their overall operations. Mental health and wellness is a social concern and a place where museums have an important role to play.
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