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The history center has also been working with the university's Rich Center for Autism, helping students with autism learn marketable skills like sorting and filing materials. And the new Sparking Memories tours grew out of a partnership with the university's gerontology program. Amy Plant, adjunct faculty in gerontology and research and consulting associate at Youngstown State, said the goal of the Sparking Memories tours is to create conversation rather than focusing on education. People with dementia may have trouble with short-term memory loss, Plant said, but they often retain long-term memories. Youngstown's Sparking Memories tours, available by appointment, will be limited to three or four exhibits, which means less walking than the typical tours. Tour guides will spend a few minutes talking about an exhibit before linking it to something in the attendees' past. For instance, Wilson said one exhibit that could be included is on company housing. Attendees may be asked to imagine what it would be like to cook for a family of four or six in the kitchen depicted. Plant said the tour is designed so that if an exhibit catches people's attention, they can stay there instead of moving on. The Sparking Memories program also includes two other programs under its umbrella: Museum in a Suitcase and the Sparking Memories Café.

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