Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



Art History

First Advisor

Marit Dewhurst

Second Advisor

Laura Lombard


Art therapy, musuems, education


Art therapy-based programs could open the doors of the museum to another population of visitors with disabilities, particularly those suffering from mental illness and in need of healing and wellness. The above statement serves as the core of this thesis with the ultimate goal to analyze and research the place of art therapy in a museum setting. Investigation of existing literature, interviews with professionals, and case studies, reveal the ways in which art therapy can be facilitated in a museum setting in order to better reach this population. Furthermore this thesis explores how collaboration between museum educators and art therapists can be mutually beneficial with an open exchange of information, techniques, and evaluation. Finally, the Rubin Museum is examined as a potentially ideal setting for a museum-based art therapy program. This thesis highlights the advantages along with any potential drawbacks of incorporating art therapy in museum galleries. In that regard, readers should be aware that an art therapy program based in a museum environment, while advantageous for visitors, should also be approached with caution. Both art therapists and museum education professionals must take the time to properly plan and work together in the execution of these programs to ensure the best results for visitors.



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