Things are getting a little quieter at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum this weekend for the Columbus museum’s first Sensory Saturday of the year.
Every few months, the museum lowers the volume in exhibits and offers sensory programming for visitors who need a calmer environment to better enjoy the exhibits. This year’s Sensory Saturdays are scheduled for Feb. 18, April 25, Aug. 5 and Dec. 2.
“It’s important to us that veterans’ inspiring stories, history and art at the NVMM be accessible to everyone,” Lt. General Michael Ferriter, U.S. Army (Retired), NVMM president and CEO said in a release. “Through Sensory Saturday events, we are making a commitment to ensure a welcoming and enjoyable environment for all our guests to experience the museum.”
While learning the stories of veterans through letters, photos and personal effects, visitors of all ages can make their own dog tags, participate in touch tours and explore military vehicles through the museum’s interactive exhibits. Touch tours are specifically put on with visually impaired guests in mind and allows them an immersive sensory experience feeling textured artifacts and equipment.
“Guests are encouraged to hold these different objects and explore them through the sense of touch that gives them the ability to feel weight distribution, shape, design and/or the materials they are made out of while a staff member or volunteer gives more information about the object they are holding,” a spokesperson for the museum said.
Sensory Saturdays are designed with guests who have had strokes or have post-traumatic stress, autism or other sensory sensitivities.
While exploring the museum during February’s Sensory Saturday, visitors can experience the Identity: Exploring Veteran Narratives Through Art + Music exhibit. It features the work and stories of veterans with post traumatic stress or traumatic brain injuries who have used art and music throughout their healing process, according to the NVMM website.
Sensory Saturdays at the NVMM is in line with the museum’s KultureCity certification, which signifies its accessibility for people with invisible disabilities and its inclusion of sensory opportunities tailored to make the museum a better experience for all visitors.
In partnership with KultureCity, the museum’s guest services desk provides sensory bags to visitors upon request year-round. The kits include a feelings card, multiple fidget toys and noise-canceling headphones. Signage around the museum alerts guests to areas and exhibits that are louder than others.
HOW TO GO
What: Sensory Saturdays at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum
Where: 300 W Broad St., Columbus
When: Feb. 18, April 25, Aug. 5 and Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: $18 for adults, $16 for seniors (65+), $13 for college students, $11 for youth (5-17) and free for children (under 5) and active-duty military members, veterans and Gold Star families.
Info and tickets: https://nationalvmm.org/visit/tickets/