New Grant Supports Neurodiverse Audiences at IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
June 2, 2022
The IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology will feature special spaces and experiences to enhance accessibility for neurodiverse visitors when it opens in 2023. It will serve individuals on the autism spectrum or experiencing sensory processing disorders, social anxiety, agoraphobia, panic attacks or other conditions. This work is funded by a $22,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
The museum’s Supporting Neurodiverse Audiences Project (SNAP) will enable museum staff to expand the use of a wellness room so that it has amenities that support neurodiverse visitors. Utilizing elements of universal design, the project will improve the museum’s accessibility for all visitors, though neurodiverse audiencesare the focus.
“As we prepare to open this new museum we are working diligently to make the museum accessible to all our visitors,” noted Sarah Hatcher, Head of Programs and Exhibits at the museum and the grant’s principal investigator. “We value the fact that partners like The Neurodiversity Coalition at IU are willing to help us ensure the museum is a place where all feel welcome.”
Cecilia Buckley, of The Neurodiversity Coalition at IU shares the sentiment. "The Neurodiversity Coalition at IU Bloomington is thrilled to partner with IUMAA to help make the museum as accessible as possible," she noted. "We are not used to being asked for our input directly and have our input be considered as important. It’s a striking contrast to what many of us have experienced in public spaces where we’ve been routinely ostracized.”
The project also provides funding for the development of appropriate and impactful activities and programs that support neurodiverse visitors and their families. These might include sensory friendly crafts, games, or musical experiences or dedicated times in the museum galleries with lowered light levels and lower-leveled audio/video components.
For more information on the grant or the museum, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit iumaa.iu.edu
Institute of Museum and Library Services
The IMLS advances, supports, and empowers America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. The agency’s vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov.