Skip to main content

Twelve Tips for Starting a Collaboration with an Art Museum


In recent years, collaboration between medical educators and art museum educators has emerged as an important trend. The museum environment can support a kind of professional reflection and conversation that is difficult to develop in a medical setting. Skills such as close looking, empathic communication, resilience, and cultural awareness may also be developed in the art museum when plans for the visit are developed with attention to their relevance to health professions. Working across disciplines requires identifying and cultivating a strong partner as well as clear communication about goals and possibilities. The following tips were developed by museum educators based on their extensive experience working with medical students, interns, residents and faculty at Harvard Medical School and the University of Texas at Austin’s Dell Medical School over the past twelve years.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


The authors are grateful to the many medical educators who have inspired and encouraged us to focus on this work, committed their time and resources to activate an experimental and iterative process, and helped us grow as teachers. These generous collaborators include Drs. Swati Avashia, Elizabeth Gaufberg, Holly Gooding, Clarissa Johnston, Joel Katz, Alejandro Moreno, Mariah Quinn, Mary Thorndike, Ricardo Wellisch, and Lisa Wong.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Corinne Zimmermann.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Williams, R., Zimmermann, C. Twelve Tips for Starting a Collaboration with an Art Museum. J Med Humanit 41, 597–601 (2020).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Museum-based education
  • Arts and humanities
  • Art museum collaboration
  • Observation
  • Communication
  • Medical education