Well-Being Longevity

Virtual museum visits improve well-being for elderly, study finds

“On a global scale, this participatory art-based activity could become a model that could be offered in museums and arts institutions worldwide to promote active and healthy aging.”
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Story at a glance


  • Researchers found adults over 65 who attended virtual guided tours each week over a three-month period experienced significant improvements in their well-being.

  • For the study, researchers recruited 106 people aged 65 and older living in the Montreal metro area, half of whom attended guided tours online once a week, while the other half did not.

  • The weekly 45-minute guided tour was followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer period with a guide.

Weekly online museum visits can help improve quality of life for seniors who are at increased risk of poor health outcomes due to social isolation, a new study suggests.  

Canadian researchers, partnering with Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, found adults over 65 who attended virtual guided tours each week over a three-month period experienced significant improvements in their well-being.  

For the study, researchers recruited 106 people aged 65 and older living in the Montreal metro area. Half of participants attended guided tours online once a week, while the other half did not participate in cultural activities during the same three-month period. 

The weekly 45-minute guided tour was followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer period with a guide. 

Researchers said the greatest benefit for seniors discovered in the study was related to frailty — a “vulnerable condition exposing individuals to incident adverse health events and disabilities that negatively impact their quality of life and increase health and social costs.”  

“Our study showed that art-based activity may be an effective intervention,” the study’s lead author Olivier Beauchet, a professor at the University of Montreal, said in a media release. “On a global scale, this participatory art-based activity could become a model that could be offered in museums and arts institutions worldwide to promote active and healthy aging. 

“Health and social systems need to address the challenge of limiting frailty and its related adverse consequences in the aging population,” Beauchet said.  

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Previous research shows viewing art online for three minutes can have a significant positive impact on one’s mental health. 

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, found that even briefly viewing digital art can lead to lower negative mood, anxiety and loneliness, as well as higher personal view of well-being.