USS Constitution Museum Promotes Accessibility On Sensory-Friendly Sundays

Photo: Suzanne Sausville (WBZ)

CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The typical level of lights, noise, and crowds at the USS Constitution Museum in the Charlestown Navy Yard can be overwhelming for people with sensory issues.

That's why the museum is hosting admission-free "Sensory-Friendly Sundays" on the second Sunday of every month.

Doors open an hour early at 9:00 a.m. before the public can arrive, with reduced lights and sounds and limited attendance. Fidgets, noise-reducing headphones, weighted shoulder wraps, sunglasses, and other sensory resources are available to borrow at the admission desk.

According to Director of Visitor Experience Chris Kauffman, the initiative ensures the museum celebrating Old Ironsides remains accessible for everyone.

"We cap registration at 35, so it’s a nice, small group. We dim some of our lighting, dim some of our audio, just to make it a little bit more enjoyable for everybody," Kauffman said.

Despite the modified setting, there are still plenty of interactive exhibits for visitors to enjoy.

"We have a yardarm here where they can practice furling a sail," noted Kauffman. "We also have hammocks set up, so you actually experience how the sailors would have slept and everything like that."

There is also a special touch table were "visitors can come and feel sail cloth, feel the ropes and rigging that would have been used onboard the ship by sailors," Kauffman said.

And what would a trip to the USS Constitution Museum be without learning how prepare and fire a cannon? In this case, the flashing lights and boom are turned off.

"It’s a really great drive to support the neuro-diverse community and the families that support those kids," said Elizabeth, who visited the museum with her kids, one of whom has autism. "So it really sets it apart and respects what each human needs individually."

You can register for "Sensory-Friendly Sundays" here.

WBZ's Suzanne Sausville (@WBZSausville) reports.

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