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December 7, 2022

Sensory Program at GRAMMY

Museum to make all exhibits and programs to be sensory inclusive

By Jack Criss

The Bolivar Bullet

KultureCity — the nation’s leading nonprofit on sensory accessibility and acceptance for those with invisible disabilities–has partnered with Cleveland’s Grammy Museum to make all exhibits and programs to be sensory inclusive. This new initiative will promote an accommodating and positive experience for all guests and fans with a sensory issue who visit the Mississippi Museum.

“The Museum has partnered with KultureCity to improve our ability to assist and accommodate guests with sensory needs,” said Executive Director, Emily Havens. “Our objective is to provide an inclusive and seamless experience for all of our guests for all events–including those visitors with sensory needs. We strive to raise awareness of the needs and challenges faced by individuals with sensory processing disorders by supplying our team members with continuous training and by offering the resources and accommodations to our guests. Misty Mosely from Bolivar Medical Center and her team of OTs have also been vital to the launch of this program,” continued Havens.

Many items are provided at the Museum’s box office to help enhance the sensory experience for guests, added Havens. “And we encourage people to download the free app to get individual social stories to us in order to help make their visit more special,” she said. Go to HTTPS://VENUE.KULTURECITY.ORG/VENUES/GRAMMY-MUSEUM-MISSISSIPPI or to the app store: HTTP://BIT.LY/KCIPHONE.

Guests are invited to enjoy the Museum exhibits with environmental modifications tailored to those with sensory needs. For Sensory Friendly Days, various activities are also provided outside of the exhibits to encourage sensory input for guests Sensory Friendly Days are hosted one Saturday a month from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

For those just travelling to the Museum for a regular visit, a sensory map/guide has been created to identify sensory stimuli that visitors are expected to experience during their visit, such as the level of sound/light/smell/touch/etc. and the presence of sudden noises/flashing lights in each exhibition at the museum. A Social narrative is a story with photos and text that describes what visitors are expected to experience while visiting your museum or historic site. 

Each component of the program is important for informing visitors of what sensory challenges they may face while visiting an unfamiliar location.Sensory Days for the remainder of the year are: Sensory Friendly Turkey Day on Nov. 19 and Sensory Sensitive Santa on Dec. 17.

“I partnered with the Grammy Museum for my doctoral capstone project prior to finishing my degree in Occupational Therapy this past August from Arkansas State University,” said Merrill Rogers, who Havens gives much credit to for her assistance. “With help from the staff, I designed 12 months of sensory-friendly programming in an effort to provide inclusive events for individuals with sensory processing challenges,” continued Rogers. 

“Each event has a unique theme with varying activities,” said Rogers, “and strives to promote participation through the use of therapeutic and engaging sensory activities. We hope that with implementation of these events that Cleveland and the surrounding Delta region will experience greater social inclusion.”

“We are so grateful to our partners, Kulture City and Bolivar Medical Center, for helping us make the experience we offer at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi accessible for even more guests,” said Havens. “We’d also like to thank our sponsors, the Gertrude Ford Foundation and Maddox Foundation, for their contributions to this incredibly special and impactful project.  We look forward to continuing to make our Museum accessible for all.”

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