What is Wellness and what does it have to do with museums?
Today, wellness has become an increasingly researched field of practice across industries and sectors that examines the fundamental dimensions that together contribute to an overall condition of ‘good health’. Wellness in this context can apply to any entity, from the wellness of an individual, for example the physical and mental health and wellbeing of a student, employee or citizen, to that of an entire community, business or even a city or nation.
While the fundamental dimensions of wellness have for the most part remained consistent since wellness first emerged as an area of research, most contemporaries working in this field cite a range of between six and eight individual wellness dimensions, which generally fall into the following categories:
Because many museums are public or civic institutions, there often exists an already mandated responsibility to the community. And as cultural institutions, this responsibility intrinsically aligns with the benefits that participation in the arts offers a community. In the twenty-first century, museums have an active role to play in responding to and sustaining the various wellness needs of our communities. It is perhaps more important than ever that our physical and digital spaces are available for people in need.
International Audience Engagement Wellness Framework
Developed by the IAE Network, the International Audience Engagement Wellness Framework aligns with these six widely accepted dimensions of wellness. While these wellness dimensions are like tenets that work together to achieve general wellness for a person or collective entity, the dimensions of the International Audience Engagement Wellness Framework are designed to position the six world dimensions in a museum-specific context.
The framework may help guide museums to consider how their operations and services can influence wellness across multiple dimensions, but with special focus on the unique contribution that museums can make to this field.
How to use the framework
The International Audience Engagement Wellness Framework is organised into two parts:
MUSEUM WELLNESS DIMENSIONS
Four considerations for internal planning and strategy in museums to support the wellness of museum audiences and staff.
AUDIENCE WELLNESS DIMENSIONS
The four key signs that your museum’s audience is experiencing increased wellness across multiple dimensions as a result of your content, programming and overall experience. These are what we should consider as the essential needs of audiences as community members.