Surprises at Seniors Day

What does Sassafras have to do with Himalayan art? Rubin Museum outreach volunteer, Patty Bouley, was surprised to learn that Sassafras was once a popular herb for treating stomach-aches and was used by the grandmothers of several senior citizens she met at Citizen’s Care Senior Program in Harlem. Patty was visiting Citizen’s Care in late September to introduce the seniors there to the world of Himalayan art as they prepared for their Free Seniors Day trip to the museum. Patty uses a discussion of Tibetan medicine and healing techniques to help seniors draw connections between their own experiences and Himalayan art and culture. She passes around touchable objects like small sculptures and scroll paintings, and sense-pleasing materials like incense and brightly-colored minerals. She also asks lots of questions and loves to see the animated discussions take off as seniors are reminded of people and places from their own lives and begin to see relevance in a culture different from their own.

posted by Louise Brooks
Manager, Community Relations and Volunteer Programs

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