Museum recognizes Autistic Awareness
After a successful soft opening in February, Mid-America Science Museum is set to host its first official Sensory Day on Tuesday, April 4 in recognition of Autism Awareness Month.
The event, funded by the Elisabeth D. Wagner Foundation, is “designed for families and children with autism or other sensory sensitivities,” and will run from 9 to 11 a.m. with the first 125 participants receiving free admission, a news release said.
As a new initiative, the museum plans to host Sensory Days four times per year. During the Sensory Day hours, some exhibits will be turned off while others are turned down while admittance to the museum will be limited as to not overstimulate anybody.
“It’s better if it’s less,” said Kaci Chandler, director of Educational Development for the museum. “We want it to be less crazy of a day, but definitely more available for families who might not come on a normal day.”
Chandler says the museum, located at 500 Mid-America Blvd., does not have any groups or field trips planned for that day. They have also prepared special backpacks for guests that include gloves, fidget toys, headphones and things that may assist in blocking stimuli.
“On Sensory Days, we turn down the lights and the volume to ensure the museum is a place for all curious minds,” the museum’s CEO, Diane LaFollette, said in the release.
For those who may miss Sensory Day but want to learn more, Chandler created a “sensory map” of features at the museum, labeling which ones are more stimulating as well as what sense they stimulate.
They also created an experience guide that is “written like a storybook” that will help parents or guardians walk their child or field trip group through the entire day and shows what they can look forward to experiencing in a way that does not add to their stress or anxieties.
“I’m really excited that we’re able to do this,” said Chandler. “It’s kind of like a mini tour of the museum before you come.”
According to Chandler, these resources will always be available under the accessibility tab of their website at https://midamericamuseum.org/ or call 501-767-3461.
General admission tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children ages 3-12 and seniors 65 and older. Teachers and military tickets cost $11. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m.