Lancaster County museum offering programs for those with sensory challenges


STRASBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania will be offering new Sensory Hours during two Tuesdays in January for individuals with sensory challenges. Museum leaders hope the program will continue in the future, as well.

“One of the requests that we’ve gotten over the years has been from families, from adults, from kids who are either on the autism spectrum or have some sensory sensitivities, and it’s just something that we’ve always wanted to do,” said Patrick Morrison, site administrator at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

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While the museum used to operate seven days a week, it has only been open for five days a week recently due to COVID-19. The modified schedule has allowed the museum to implement new programming, including Sensory Hours.

For Sensory Hours, which will take place from 3-5 p.m. on Jan. 11 and Jan. 25, the exhibits’ lights and sound features will be adjusted and quiet spaces will be available so that everyone can explore the 100,000-square-foot facility and the dozens of full-sized train cars it houses, Morrison explained.

The museum’s website also says that some of the trains will be open and museum staff will be present at the events to answer questions.

“We’re hoping to offer a quieter, calmer atmosphere during those two hours,” Morrison said.

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania developed its sensory programming following examples of other similar museums. Morrison hopes visitors who attend the Sensory Hours programs will offer feedback so the museum can create the best experience possible, and maybe even expand it.

“I don’t see subtracting, I see adding, so there may be additional opportunities for us to expand those hours as time goes on,” Morrison said. “We’re just happy to be able to do it.”

Guests can purchase tickets, which cost $7 for most Sensory Hours visitors ages 3 and older, on the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s website or by calling 717-687-8628.

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