Museums can be a great site for healing according to Dr. Carla Sofka. A professor at Siena College, she points out that almost everyone has a memory of visiting a museum, and they serve a variety of purposes. They’re a place where learning can be fun. Since she began volunteering at New York museums following 9/11, she’s found that they are also great healing spaces for those in grief. Brimming with information, people of all ages can learn about events that have a big impact on their life. Museums are also a place to go for those who didn’t get physical evidence of a death of a loved one. For example, the World Trade Center Tribute Center is spilling over with memorabilia.

The Gallery of Honor in Oklahoma commemorates the 1995 bombing victims. Museums are also a great place to connect with others who have had a similar loss. It’s reassuring to have a place where others understand your situation. In some places, it’s the only place you can go to shed a tear in public. In Oklahoma City, sidewalk chalk and comment cards provide a vehicle to share feelings that might otherwise go unexpressed.

Identifying “Your” Space

There are person-to-person history events, and this is a place where empathy can be found. It’s also a means for loved ones and survivors to have a legacy for those who died. In Washington DC, there are many memorials and events for war veterans and their families. It helps instill hope, especially in those who survived a traumatic incident.

The next time you’re in a city with a memorial museum, Dr. Sofka encourages you to attend. It’s a place to cope, to discover, and to heal. Museums also provide a sense of security.


Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley

Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley are a mother/daughter team and internationally recognized grief experts. They are the founders of The Open to Hope Foundation and the hosts of The Open to Hope Show. In addition, Dr. Gloria is a board member for The Compassionate Friends and Dr. Heidi is an adjunct professor at Columbia University and has a private practice in manhattan. Their message is that others have made it through the grief journey and so can you, if you do not yet have hope lean on theirs.

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