Lia Phagan, 14, a patient in the UF Health’s Congenital Heart Center’s Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, had the opportunity to escape the confines of her hospital room and virtually tour the Monet collection at the Harn Museum of Art in collaboration with UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine.
When Lia was admitted to the hospital, as with most pediatric patients, she was asked a series of questions so we could better understand her likes and dislikes. When she was asked who she would most like to meet she said Monet. Coincidentally, the Harn Museum was about to open an exhibit of Impressionist paintings which set into motion a collaboration between the Harn Museum and Arts in Medicine.
Prior to the tour, Harn museum docent, Sue Gaintner, visited with Lia to discuss Monet, the upcoming tour and what she would most like to see on her museum visit. Harn educational staff went the extra mile in setting up a dynamic virtual experience which included a Monet impersonator, bringing to life Lia’s wish to “meet Monet.”
“For that brief, but treasured time we were transported,” said Amy Bucciarelli, clinical art therapist with AIM. “We were not in a hospital. We were in the gardens of Giverny and experiencing the beauty of exploring the Harn museum. For those moments, she was not a patient. She was an art scholar, and Monet’s biggest fan.”
This May, Lia received her new heart! In July, the Harn Art Museum hosted her in-person for a private tour of their collection. Lia’s mom, Tiffany, recalled how important their virtual tour was during their hospitalization, “It was a welcomed escape from the long days confined inside of a hospital room. We felt transported.” Lia, now healthy and living outside the hospital, enjoyed her special museum tour. Tara Thornock, docent and fellow travel enthusiast, helped Lia “travel” to Asia, Africa, Panama, and the swamps of Florida through the treasured works of art. Lia said, “It was an amazing visit to the Harn Museum virtually from my hospital room, but even more special to tour the exhibits in person. Thank you so much!”