Anchorage Museum launches free workshops for older adults

Anchorage Museum is launching a new series of three, eight-week workshops geared to adults ages 55 and older. The first series, “Vital and Creative,” begins in April and will allow participants to develop art skills, make an artwork to take home and connect with others in the class. Local, professional artists lead each class, incorporating objects in the museum’s extensive collection of Northern and Arctic art and cultural material.

The series is funded by a $25,000 Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums grant from Aroha Philanthropies.

Studies show that older adults benefit psychologically, physically and emotionally when participating in creative activities in a social environment.

“The balance between personal vitality and overall well-being is particularly delicate for individuals aging in the North where climate and remoteness can present social and other barriers to fully engaging in community and lifelong learning,” says S. Hollis Mickey, director of learning and engagement for the museum.

“Vital & Creative: Textile Arts for Ages 55+”, runs April 3 through May 22. Each week focuses on different textile techniques, including hand felting and hand sewing, and materials, such as fish skins and calico. Time for reflection and sharing with other participants are included. Contemporary Alaska textile artist Amy Meissner is among the instructors confirmed for this initial workshop.

“The museum is committed to reducing barriers – like cost – that may prevent older adults from participating in programs such as these,” says S. Hollis Mickey, director of learning and engagement for the museum. “And thanks to generous funding from Aroha Philanthropies, we can make these workshops free of charge.”

Aroha Philanthropies Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums initiative aims to change the narrative about what it means to grow old in America, combat ageism and promote a healthy change in attitudes toward aging as senior populations grow. The Anchorage Museum was one of 20 museums across the country to receive the grant.

The museum is working with local organizations, including the Anchorage Pioneer Home, to attract a diverse group of people to the workshops and address challenges such as transportation, Mickey said.

To enroll, call 907-929-9258 to register for all eight sessions. Assistance with transportation may be available. Or visit the museum website for information and registration at

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