Museums Play Vital Role in U.S. Health Care

“Museums on Call,” New Report from American Alliance of Museums, Highlights Museums Providing Critical Health Services

WASHINGTON, DC (June 17, 2013)─Museums have long been essential pillars in America’s educational infrastructure. But increasingly, museums of all types and sizes are integral to U.S. health care, supporting medical research and training, initiating therapeutic programs for those with memory loss, children on the autism spectrum and veterans with combat-related illnesses, and inspiring healthier nutrition and behavior.

Examples of these and other health-related enterprises on the part of American museums are documented in a new report, “Museums on Call: How Museums are Addressing Health Issues,” released today by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).

See the full report, including a state-by-state appendix of examples.

“This report showcases just one of the many ways museums have become essential community assets and service-providers,” said AAM president Ford W. Bell. “In addition to conserving and exhibiting our natural, scientific, cultural and historic heritages, museums also meet urgent community needs, and in today’s America health care is very much at the forefront of our field’s commitment to public service.”

This report details ten aspects of the health care field where museums are making significant contributions. Specifically, they are: 

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Autism
  • Disease Prevention
  • Health Literacy
  • Hospital Outreach
  • Medical Training
  • Mental Health
  • Military and Veterans Health
  • Nutrition and Wellness
  • Visual Impairment

Moreover, the museums that have initiated programs addressing these issues represent the breadth of the museums field—art museums, children’s museums, history museums and historic sites, natural history museums, science-technology centers, public and botanical gardens, zoos and aquariums.

“For too long, elected officials and other policy makers have viewed museums as amenities, rather than as essential community anchors,” Bell said. “This report is but a glimpse of the many public services provided by museums to our communities, all across the country. Health care is a prime concern for leaders and average citizens alike, and museums are clearly striving to meet those needs.”

For more information on the unexpected work being done by museums in the fields of education, social welfare and public safety, among others, visit the Alliance website at

About the American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums is the largest museum service organization in the world, serving all types of museums, including art, history, science, botanic gardens, zoos, and aquariums. The Alliance helps museums serve their communities by developing standards and best practices, offering professional training and resources, and serving as the national voice of museums for the public, media, and elected officials. Working on behalf of 17,500 museums, 400,000 museum employees, thousands of volunteers and the visitors who come to museums 850 million times each year, The Alliance is dedicated to bolstering museums in promoting lifelong learning, celebrating cultural heritage, and inspiring the creative skills to compete in a global economy. For more information, visit

Media Contact

Dewey Blanton
Alliance Communications