This story is sponsored by Buckeye Imagination Museum.
In an effort to create a more inclusive and accommodating environment for children who need additional resources, Buckeye Imagination Museum has introduced sensory hours. This initiative aims to provide a tailored experience for young visitors who may benefit from a quieter and less overwhelming atmosphere, allowing them to fully engage and explore the museum’s interactive exhibits.
Sensory hours, which will take place on the second Saturday of every month from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m., represent a significant step toward accommodating all children and ensuring they can enjoy the museum’s offerings to the fullest extent possible.
This not only provides a more comfortable environment for the children but also for the parents.
“It’s a good way for families to reach out into their own community. Parents can make friends, kids can make friends and they don’t have to worry,” said Brenna Koch, public relations coordinator.
Buckeye Imagination Museum’s mission statement is straightforward: “Empower families through the power of play.” This includes the whole family.
Since moving to their new location, they have taken big steps towards living out this mission. They installed an elevator to make the museum is ADA accessible. Furthermore, they will soon have the capacity to entertain older children with the opening of the second floor this fall, which will be filled with new activities and exhibits geared towards kids ages 10-18 and up.
The building currently has a capacity of 1,600 people. On an average Saturday, particularly in the winter, Buckeye Imagination Museum can accommodate up to 800 people at one time. Attendance will be limited to 100 during the new sensory hours. Certain lights and clamorous exhibits will be turned off during these hours.
Although sensory hours are from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., when someone purchases a ticket, they are welcome to stay all day if they wish.
“We want everybody to have a good experience. We want every family to have a good experience. Some parents with children who have different sensory needs struggle to take them out in public and have other experiences. They can’t have that family free time to play,” said Executive Director Fred Boll. “By reducing the number of visitors, minimizing noise and other sensory inputs, we aim to create a positive family experience.”
During both these hours and regular hours, sensory bags are available on loan. Bags include headphones, sunglasses, various fidget toys, weighted blankets and more. These items are intended to help children, and adults, who may feel overstimulated to relax and feel calmer in a place that can become hectic like a children’s museum.
“We understand that building trust with these families can be challenging because it can be difficult for them to know what will work best for their child. But we’re dedicated to being accommodating and informed for these types of events,” Koch said.
The Life & Culture section is brought to you by Knox Community Hospital.