Sensory-Friendly Programming Session
MOAH’s sensory-friendly programming boasts an array of resources and services for neurodivergent guests before and during the museum experience. Beginning with the social narrative, which is available on MOAH’s website, guests can read a first-person description of a trip to MOAH, with important details regarding parking, entrance/exit points, restrooms, and how to access on-site sensory-friendly resources. Guests can attend special open hours, which occur before the museum opens to the public. During these special open hours, the lighting in the museum is dimmed and the audio components of artworks are lowered.
Upon arrival at the museum, guests are offered a sensory-friendly programming map, which pin-points changes in light and noise, along with the exact locations of hands-on sensory-friendly programming activities. Guests with hyper/hypo-sensitivities also have access to a take-a-break space on each of the two main levels of the museum. These rooms are sectioned off from main walkways and contain calming tools and water within a quiet, dimly lit room. Speech cards, in both Spanish and English, are available at the guest services desk to assist non-verbal visitors.
Optional sensory-friendly programming activities include the multi-sensory tour and a hands-on art activity. The multi-sensory tour is a self-guided tour with stations throughout the museum. Each station focuses on a single work of art and includes an object or objects that can be used to enhance the viewer’s sensory experience of the artwork. Tour “stations” allow guests to engage with staff members and multi-sensory items on a volunteer basis. The voluntary, hands-on art activity, offered in the MOAH classroom, is designed to adapt to hyper- and hypo-sensitivities, as well as multiple age groups and abilities. In many cases, the finished art project doubles as a fidget or calming tool that can be used while exploring the museum.