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Museum Hours: Open Daily 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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Museum Hours: Open Daily 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sensory Summer

Join us for autism- and sensory-friendly museum time!


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About Sensory Summer
Upcoming Events
ASD- and Sensory-Friendly Exhibit Changes
Community Feedback


About Sensory Summer

This summer, Madison Children’s Museum welcomes children and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and/or sensory challenges to experience the museum at our new Sensory-Friendly Museum Times. This pilot program aims to bring families together to learn through play in an environment that supports the unique needs of children with ASD and/or sensory challenges.

The summer series will feature four free events held during mornings and evenings outside the museum’s regular general admission hours. Pre-registration for these events is not required, but pre-registered families will be able to take advantage of express check-in. Walk-ins are welcome and the event is free to all attendees.

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Upcoming Events

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ASD- and Sensory-Friendly Exhibit Changes

During Sensory-Friendly Museum Times, changes will be made to the museum’s exhibit spaces, with the intention of helping make the museum more accessible and enjoyable for children with ASD and sensory issues. These changes will include:

  • Hand dryers will be closed off and paper towels will be available in all bathrooms.
  • The Wildernest, Cozy Cottage, and first floor First Aid room will be designated comfort rooms.
  • Celebrations Room B, on the second floor, will be a designated cool-down room, staffed by a licensed Occupational Therapist with mats, blankets, and other resources.
  • Celebrations Room A, on the second floor, will be set up for quiet Lego play.
  • The entire museum, except for the Log Cabin, will be open and all ages are welcome, including friends and family.
  • The Wayback Machine exhibit and pinball machines will be turned off for the events, including all lights, sounds, and video.
  • Fidgets, timers, headphones, and other sensory resources will be available for children and families to use in the museum. (Please let us know if you have any feedback on these or similar resources!)
  • Simple signage designating quiet zones and sensory-seeking areas will be posted throughout the building.
  • The Roman Candle Sparkler Café will not be open, but the café area will be available for eating, if attendees wish to bring their own food. We request that families eat only in the café area, and only bring foods that are free of peanuts and tree nuts.

Our primary goal in making these changes is to create a welcoming, supportive, and fun environment for families to play and explore together. To assist the museum in meeting this goal, we welcome and encourage participants’ feedback on every aspect of our sensory-friendly programming.

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Community Feedback

As part of this new initiative, we will also be actively seeking input on how we can better serve families affected by ASD and sensory challenges in the future, both during general admission hours and at special museum events. Participants will be offered the opportunity to provide input, via questionnaires and surveys, at all Sensory Summer events. To assist us in collecting community input, participants may be asked to provide contact information; all participation is greatly appreciated, but not required.

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