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Grand Rapids Public Museum and Hope Network Partner on sensory friendly museum night


The Museum will adapt sounds, lighting and activities within the current exhibits to create a low-sensory experience for the evening.

In celebration of Autism Awareness Month, the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) and Hope Network invite visitors affected by autism and other sensory processing needs to visit for a Sensory Friendly Museum Night on Thursday, April 20, 2023 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the GRPM.

The Museum will adapt sounds, lighting and activities within the current exhibits to create a low-sensory experience for the evening. Additionally, visitors can experience a low sensory planetarium show in Chaffee Planetarium, ride the Spillman Carousel and explore the Museum’s current exhibits, including the GRPM original exhibit Fashion + Nature.

One in every sixty-eight children are on the autism spectrum, with another child being diagnosed every 20 minutes. Hope Network opened its first Center For Autism in Kentwood in 2011, which was Michigan’s first all-inclusive treatment center. Hope Network now has five Centers For Autism across the state, all of which use Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy and comprehensive clinical services to empower those with autism to overcome challenges to achieve their highest level of independence.

"The GRPM aims to create an inclusive experience for all visitors by providing physical and cognitive accessibility," said Dale Robertson, President & CEO of the Museum. "We are delighted to collaborate with Hope Network to offer families an opportunity to explore the Museum in a low-sensory environment. Additionally, we are always working to integrate sensory friendly levels of interaction throughout the Museum's programming and experiences."

The GRPM partners with KultureCity to improve the Museum’s experience for guests with a variety of sensory processing needs. A limited amount of sensory bags containing fidget tools, noise canceling headphones and other resources are available for checkout at the Museum’s front desk.

Pre-registration for the Sensory Friendly Museum Night is required; visit tickets.grpm.org to register.

In addition to the Sensory-Friendly Museum Night at the Grand Rapids Public Museum on Thursday, April 20, 2023, Hope Network is hosting the Hope Network Bridge Walk for Autism. Join more than 1,000 community members for a walk for inclusiveness, neurodiversity, and the belief that everyone deserves a chance to be included. The Bridge Walk takes place prior to the Sensory Friendly Museum Night, and visitors must pre-register for both events. To register for the Bridge Walk, visit hopenetwork.org.

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