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The Art of War: Examining Museums’ Art Therapy Programs for Military Veterans

Thesis by Diana Klein (2015)

Twenty-two American veterans commit suicide every day, many of them suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Art therapy has been shown to be effective at decreasing the symptoms of PTSD, and a few museums recognize their potential as locations for and as facilitators of art therapy.

The goal of this research was to understand the nature and characteristics of programs art museums are offering for veterans and the potential value of these programs to participants and museums. Methodology included interviews with educators at five museums that offer programs. The findings suggest that these programs have positive impacts on veterans in terms of increased comfort level, decreased stress, and a heightened sense of community. The museum professionals are also positively impacted by their work this new population.

This work may inform museums that are looking to engage with their local veteran community or any population that may be suffering from trauma.\

Keywords: veterans, PTSD, programs, art museums, social change, research, engagement, therapy, veterans


Klein, D. L. (2015). The art of war: Examining museums’ art therapy programs for military veterans. (Order No. 1599838). ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. Available from Dissertations & Theses @ University of Washington WCLP; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1730400237). Retrieved from