National Air and Space Museum 2015 Annual Report


Program for Special Visitors: Morning at the Museum

Morning at the Museum
Front cover of the passport given to Morning at the Museum participants.

Morning at the Museum is a Smithsonian-wide project designed to introduce its museums to individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. The project is organized by the Smithsonian Accessibility Program, which provides an occupational therapist and other specialists for the visit.

Every other month, a different museum hosts Morning at the Museum. Pre-registered families are given early entry, where they enjoy participating in arts and crafts and/or movement activities related to the museum’s exhibits, as well as viewing exhibitions at their own pace, free of outside distractions. In preparation for their visit, participants can download pre-visit materials consisting of stories, tips, and sensory information. At their first visit, children are given a "passport" to keep and fill with rubber stamps given out at each museum they visit.

The National Air and Space Museum hosted Morning at the Museum in September 2015. Activities included making and flying paper airplanes, listening to stories, doing crafts, and participating in “pilot yoga” (deep breathing).

Feedback from parents has been very positive, and attendance at Morning at the Museum is growing — five families participated in 2014, 27 families in 2015, and there is already a waiting list for 2016.