Key Takeaways

  • The National Gallery of Art offers free, long-term loans of art resources to senior centers, community centers, health facilities, and more to engage lifelong learners.

  • We provide artists’ backgrounds, hands-on activities, and discussion questions, so facilitators do not need to have an art history background.

  • Broaden horizons and the horizons of new audiences using resources focusing on a wide range of art and artists from the past and present.

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, is proud to offer digital and print resources to communities of older adults nationwide. Multiple studies demonstrate that visual art therapy improves cognitive function in older adults.1 Doctors have even prescribed trips to art museums to stimulate neural activity and improve patients’ sense of well-being.2

These resources can be easily used with no previous knowledge about art or art history to meet artists, past and present. Print resources include teaching packets with texts, reproductions, image CDs, and timelines to immerse your audience within an artist’s work or artistic movement. With teaching packets you can explore the European Renaissance, American Painting, the Dutch Golden Age, and more. DVDs are also available and delve into artists like J.M.W. Turner, Stuart Davis, and Tintoretto. The Gallery also offers HD films to senior centers or care facilities to broadcast within your organization.

One of our most popular resources for lifelong learners is the text I Am Still Learning: Late Works by Masters. This program highlights impressive works created by artists late in their careers. Alexander Calder, Paul Cezanne, and Winslow Homer are just a few of the artists featured.

Interested in starting an affiliate loan to receive print resources or DVDs for your organization? Find more information here. You can also learn more about our digital learning resources by clicking here.

The National Gallery of Art also provides interactive programming for those with memory loss and their care partners. Just Us at the National Gallery of Art provides discussion-based experiences with a specially trained Gallery educator. Participants explore two works of art during virtual sessions on Zoom, meeting weekly on Mondays from 2:00 to 3:15 p.m. (EST). To register, please email

We’re constantly adding new content exploring artworks from the past and present and hope you will visit us on site or online as we continue to learn together.


1. Masika GM, Yu DSF, Li PWC. Visual art therapy as a treatment option for cognitive decline among older adults. A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Adv Nurs. 2020 Mar 23. doi: 10.1111/jan.14362. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32201968.

2. Henry, S. (2018). ‘Doctors to prescribe museum visits to help patients 'escape from their own pain'’, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 12 October. Found on the Internet at: (Accessed 3 May 2021)