National Constitution Center to hold sensory friendly Sundays

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Rachel Mennell and her kids, Sam and Amy, are exploring the National Constitution Center.

Because Sam and Amy have ADHD and sensory issues, they seek out museums with sensory-friendly programming.

"My son sometimes will wear noise-canceling headphones where there's a large crowd. When we're at sensory friendly events he typically doesn't have to do that," said Mennell.

This year, for the first time, the Constitution Center will hold four sensory-friendly Sundays, aiming to make their historical exhibits more accessible for everyone.

"We're bringing lights up and audio down. Just to make a more comfortable environment," said Kristina Marinello with the National Constitution Center.

As part of sensory friendly Sundays at the Constitution Center, they'll have several quiet spaces--rooms where kids and families can come to cool down and get away from the crowds.

"There will be one on each level in case anyone needs a calm down space," said Marinello.

Staff members have been trained by Art-Reach, a local non-profit.

"If they feel the need to process that stimuli they can do that with a fidget toy," said Katie Samson, director of programs with Art-Reach.

They're focused on making arts and culture more accessible.

"We give museums, cultural institutions the tools to be able to enhance their programming so the greater sector of society is served," said Samson.

She says in the past two years, the demand for this training has increased dramatically.

Families like the Mennells are grateful.

"Being here today they're able to engage and interact with some of the electronic exhibits and they can vote and enjoy those aspects," said Rachel.
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