Home / Visit / Accessibility / Autism Spectrum and Sensory Concerns

The Museum Is Committed to Being an Accessible and Inclusive Community Resource

The Museum has partnered with CA Human Services and the Autism Society Central Virginia to provide its staff with disability-specific training. To help prepare for your visit to the Museum, view and/or download our Social Narrative here (haz clic aquí).

Curiosity Guide

  • This resource guide provides a detailed walkthrough of the Museum’s experiences, including descriptions of activities and the sensory-related factors associated with each area. View or download the Curiosity Guide here.

Sensory Concerns

  • Light, noise and crowds vary widely throughout the Museum. Please consult the Curiosity Guide prior to your visit for all relevant sensory information. Please note that The Dome theater provides a large amount of sensory stimulation. Guests may want to consider bringing noise reducing headphones.

Sensory Backpacks

  • The Science Museum of Virginia is a fun and engaging place to visit, but sometimes a trip to the Museum can be an overwhelming or stressful experience for guests with Autism Spectrum Disorder or sensory concerns. To help make the experience more accessible and enjoyable for these families, the Museum worked with Autism Society Central Virginia to create sensory backpacks.
  • Each backpack includes noise-cancelling headphones, sensory fidget toys, sunglasses, a magnifying glass, and activity sheets with crayons.
  • Sensory backpacks can be checked out for free from the Guest Services desk. Guests who would like to check out a backpack need to leave a form of ID, which will be returned once the backpack is returned to the Guest Services desk.

Quieter Times to Visit

  • Visitation will vary depending upon holidays, school vacations, weather and other factors. September, January and February are usually less busy, quieter months of the year to visit. Wednesday is the quietest day of the week at the Museum. In addition, weekday afternoons after 2 pm (during the school year) are often less busy, quieter times to visit.

Quieter Places and Exhibits

  • There are quieter places and exhibits throughout the Museum. These can vary depending upon the time of day, time of year and show schedules. The Discovery Room and RF&P Forum, both located off of the main lobby, are usually quieter spaces when available.

Minds of all Kinds

  • A free, sensory friendly evening event at the Museum, Minds of All Kinds offers a less crowded museum experience, as well as hands-on activities that will pique the curiosity of the young at heart of all ages .
  • Minds of all Kinds events are held multiple times throughout the year. Click here to learn more.

Have Questions?

A child and an adult observing a creation.