Growing Old

How do old people who are living under challenging and uncertain conditions seek a good life? This question is explored in the exhibition ‘Growing Old’ which is shown until August 16, 2020 at Moesgaard Museum.


The exhibition is based on a three-year research project by a group of anthropologists and philosophers at University of Aarhus in collaboration with two artists.

The exhibition invites you into the lives of a group of elderly people in order to spark reflection on what a good life is, when ageing is difficult. You will meet:

  • A woman living alone in Kyrgyzstan
  • An exile Tibetan in Dharamsala, India
  • A woman at a dementia ward in Denmark
  • A clan leader from the Ik-people in Northern Uganda
  • An Afro-American grandmother in Los Angeles, USA

Inside the homes of five people
The exhibition consists of five ‘homes’, one home for each person. Inside, their different worlds are shown. By means of artefacts, pictures, sounds and scenography their worlds come to life. A personal seat (a worn couch, a hand carved stool, a small plank bed etc.) is available for visitors to sit down and, in this way, experience being in the person’s place - what do they see from their window, which sounds are they surrounded by? You hear their voices talk about memories, about being old, and other things.

The philosophical square
At the center of the exhibition room you find ‘the philosophical square’. With quotes from the elderly people, the philosophical square creates a space for reflection and identification - how will you and I experience aging and being old?

In addition, the visual artist Maria Speyer creates a series of floor-to-ceiling charcoal drawings that investigate five experiences of aging and compassion.

‘Growing Old’ can be seen at the Moesgaard Museum until August 16, 2020.

The project is funded by the VELUX FOUNDATIONS with contributions from Aarhus University and VIVE - The Danish Center for Social Science Research and is a collaboration between eight researchers from Aarhus University, the University of Copenhagen, VIVE and the University of Southern California (USA) as well as two artists from Denmark and Australia.