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Christina Muscatello stands quietly with her group in front of a WWI propaganda poster of Uncle Sam. After a moment, she asks, “What does this poster remind you of?” A woman chimes in, “The year I graduated, there were no boys to take to the prom.” Another talks about his aunt flying fighter planes across the country.

c memory - How Art Helps Us Reminisce

Christina sits with her group in the exhibit The Memory Maker Project: Nature’s Memories, which premiered this past fall.

Every one of the people accompanying Christina are living with a form of memory loss. They are here with The Memory Maker Project, an advocacy group that provides programs and opportunities for people living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of memory loss, and a project of the Center for Transformative Action, a Cornell University affiliate.

Their memories are so vivid and expressed with such clarity. If you were to ask some in her group a more pointed question like, “How many kids do you have?” the response might be one of uncertainty—searching for the answer. Christina, who heads the program, explains it’s all about understanding how the brain works and asking the right question.

When Christina brings her group to Roberson, she asks them to focus on a piece of art to see what memories come to the surface. She explains it’s about tapping into different parts of the brain. By asking, “What does this object remind you of?” it allows a person to pull from the object what is most important to them.

This past fall, Roberson had the pleasure of featuring some of the art and poetry her group created through the inspiring photographs from Nature’s Best Photography. Roberson is glad to be a community partner for organizations, like The Memory Maker Project, which help lift up our neighbors.

Support provided by the general operations support grants from the United Cultural Fund, a program of the Broome County Arts Council; the Conrad and Virginia Klee Foundation; the Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquariums Program, administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreational, and Historical Preservation; and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.