2014 Archives

The Connections program at SMU's Meadows Museum

Scenes from Connections

Meadows Museum Connections Program

Meadows Museum Connections Program
Meadows Museum Connections Program
Meadows Museum Connections Program
Meadows Museum Connections Program

March 26, 2014

For the last three years, the Meadows Museum on SMU’s campus has implemented a plan to become an inclusive art museum, where programs are not merely accommodating — but welcoming — to all visitors.  

In the spring of 2011, it launched Connections, an access program designed for individuals with early stage dementia, their family members and care partners. The program adopts an inclusive approach in order to serve individuals with different forms of dementia, including those with Alzheimer’s and traumatic brain injury. Through a flexible format incorporating a variety of activities such as music, dance, art making and literature, participants discover new ways to connect with works of art and with each other. These activities are often led by SMU students from the music therapy department and across campus.

Last year, we introduced an inclusive program titled INsights & OUTlooks. The program, led by artist John Bramblitt and museum staff and facilitated by SMU Delta Gammas, explores a single artwork from a variety of perspectives.  In order to enable visitors with diverse interests and abilities to understand the work, it often incorporates the use of taste, touch, scent, and music. Verbal description, tactile graphics and small reproductions of paintings (created by Meadows School graduate Oscar Mejia) help blind and low-vision participants understand the visual and tactile qualities of the artworks.

We have discovered that inclusive techniques enhance the museum experience for most, if not all museum visitors, not just those with apparent physical disabilities. Therefore, whenever possible we will use those techniques to make all of our public programs more welcoming to audiences with diverse needs.  To this end, we now offer program materials in braille and large print, and during our weekend sketching program Drawing from the Masters, we use iPad apps such as SketchBook MobileX and ProCreate, to improve visibility for those with low vision.

Following is a list of our upcoming access and inclusive programs. However, sighted guides and interpreters are available by appointment for tours and all programs. For more information about visiting the Meadows Museum with individuals with different abilities, contact director of education, Carmen Smith at 214.768.4677.


This three-day program for individuals with early stage dementia and their care partners, will involve a variety of creative activities in a relaxed setting. Participants will explore the galleries through interactive exercises and puzzles, experiment with different materials to create individual and group projects, and discover works of art through music, dance, literature, storytelling and role play. Light refreshments will be served. Space is limited and advance registration is required. The same program is offered twice a semester; participants may choose either the Friday or Wednesday series, both of which take place on three consecutive weeks. For more information and to register, call 214.768.4677.

  • Wednesday Series: April 9, 16, 23, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.


This casual social gathering is designed for people who currently participate in or want to learn more about Connections. Attendees may drop-in to visit with friends over coffee and light refreshments, visit the galleries, or enjoy an informal gallery activity. No registration necessary. The group will meet in the Seminar Room.

  • Fridays: May 23, 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
  • Wednesdays: June 11, 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

 INsights & OUTlooks

March 15, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Acknowledging that every museum visitor possesses a unique set of interests and abilities, this program offers participants multiple ways to engage with and discover works of art. Through a variety of multisensory activities based on interdisciplinary connections and diverse perspectives, we will invite a broad and in-depth exploration of a single work from the Museum’s collection: Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida’s The Blind Man of Toledo, 1906. The program is presented by education staff and artist John Bramblitt who is blind. Free; Advance registration is required.  For more information and to register, contact: mcarmens@smu.edu

Family Day Celebration

April 12, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Join us as we celebrate the exhibition, Sorolla and America.  Through activities incorporating movement, sound, touch, taste and smell, visitors of all ages and abilities will enjoy a multisensory exploration of works by Joaquín Sorolla. Presentations will include demonstrations by artist John Bramblitt who will show how he creates his colorful paintings using only his sense of touch.

Drawing from the Masters

Sundays every other week: April 6, 27, May 4, 18; 1:30–3:00 p.m.

Enjoy afternoons of informal drawing instruction as guest artist Ian O’Brien leads you through the Meadows Museum’s galleries.  Each session will provide an opportunity to explore a variety of techniques and improve drawing skills. Designed for adults and students ages 15 and older, and open to all levels of experience. Free with admission; no advance registration required. Attendance is limited to 20 and based on a first-come, first-served basis. Drawing materials will be available, but participants are encouraged to bring their own sketchpads and pencils. 

More Information

Also see the Meadows Museum Program Calendar. This symbol indicates that the program is inclusive of visitors who are blind or have low vision. For more information, please contact Carmen Smith at mcarmens@smu.edu or 214-768-4677.