New Wilson Museum Exhibition Celebrates Dignity of Individuals with Alzheimer’s and Their Caregivers

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Through September 19, the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University is honoring the courage and fortitude of persons living with Alzheimer’s disease, and those who care for them, with the exhibition DIGNIFIED: Individuals with Alzheimer’s and Their Caregivers/Photographs by Patterson Lawson.


Dignified: Individuals with Alzheimer's and Their Caregivers
Patterson Lawson, “Marian.” Photograph.



In 2019, Lawson, a Richmond-based photographer, discovered an interest in documenting individuals and families whose lives were and are affected by Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive disorder that degrades memory and vital brain functions. He found that, unlike other diseases where individuals are family members actively engage the medical community and devote time, energy, and attention to getting well, many assume a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s means the end of a meaningful life. Lawson writes, “These portraits contradict such perceptions. While the losses are real, people with Alzheimer’s are not empty shells….The subjects’ direct gazes reveal their dignity.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than six million Americans today are living with the disease.

The Wilson Museum is open by appointment.