University of Leicester
2023Van Hoven K PHD.pdf (3.77 MB)

Museo-Medical Partnerships and their Impact on Health and Wellbeing

Download (3.77 MB)
posted on 2023-10-03, 09:47 authored by Kristy Van Hoven

In recent years museums have stepped up to be partners in health and wellbeing for their communities. Through curated exhibitions and program development to support health literacy, specialized educational opportunities for students and medical providers, and partnerships dedicated to healthcare, therapeutic interventions, and community reconciliation, museums are becoming essential partners in the healthcare delivery system. However, the lack of formal study of museo-medical partnerships and their projects in this emerging field of museum and medical humanities work proves to be challenging for many partners looking to engage more with the medical community, patients, and other stakeholders. This thesis will explore the multi-disciplinary uses for museums and their collections as they relate to health and wellness opportunities.

Early academic research has identified several ways museums can contribute to healthcare delivery. Social prescriptions, community engagement, and even medical training opportunities are ways museums are contributing to the healthcare sector, but there is very little research into the logistical considerations and workings of partnerships between museums and the medical community. What motivates a physician and museum educator to work together? How can these museo-medical partnerships support objectives across disciplines? And how can cross-disciplinary partnerships support health and long-term wellbeing among communities? Many of the independent partnerships created by museums and their medical-based colleagues are seemingly one-offs, inspired by a previous program but not rooted in a formal framework. By understanding motivations, program implementations, and future initiatives in a more comprehensive review of programs in North America more professionals will feel comfortable turning to this base of research and be encouraged to engage in museo-medical partnerships to support their communities now and in the future.



Richard Sandall; Nuala Morse

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Museum Studies

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD