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Hastings Museum Introduces Low Sensory Hours

Family Feeling Tylosaurus Skull

On the 3rd Friday of each month, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Museum will lower sounds and lights, and post signs on interactive exhibits that communicate which buttons will trigger audio.

“The idea is to create a calmer atmosphere,” said Russanne Hoff, curator of education. “When a sound unexpectedly comes through a speaker, that can be tough for some kids–and adults.” Hoff added that while the Museum is turning down the volume on exhibits, it isn’t asking patrons to whisper or stop talking.
“It’s a balance. We’ll want visitors to be aware that we’re trying to deliver a specific atmosphere, but we also want them to have fun. That means talking, laughing, and asking questions,” she said.
Low Sensory Hours are a simple way for the museum to make all patrons comfortable. As members of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the Museum closely follows AAM’s working group on Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI). When determining how to best adapt its environment, the Museum turned to Aaron Bly of Kids and Dreams Foundation, based in Kenesaw.
Hoff said Bly has been a great resource for the Museum. “Last year he and his team put together a training session for our staff on how to best develop programming for kids who are on the autism spectrum. He gave us so many great tips that we could implement right away. We knew he’d be a great resource.”
Regular admission rates for the Museum apply during Low Sensory Hours. All are welcome.

For additional information contact Becky Tideman, marketing director at the Hastings Museum: 402-461-2399 or btideman@hastingsmuseum.org.
Founded in 1927, Hastings Museum in Hastings, Neb., is the largest municipal museum between Chicago and Denver. Featuring a super screen Theatre and  Planetarium, the Museum houses dozens of animal species set in their natural habitats. It also chronicles the history of the early inhabitants of the Nebraska plains and how Kool-Aid, the famous soft drink invented in Hastings, came to be such a success. For more information about the museum, including events and programming, go toHastingsMuseum.org.
The Kids & Dreams Foundation provides support to children of all ages and their families dealing with autism, bullying and all other challenges faced by today’s children. The foundation seeks to enrich the lives of every affected child by locating and providing resources that will assist each of them with reaching their full potential in life. More information is available about Kids & Dreams at kidsanddreams.org, or by reaching out to Aaron Bly at 308-830-0225 or aaron@kidsanddreams.org.

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