Abstract

What if museums could provide an app that makes interaction easier for visitors with autism and allows them to enjoy the museum any day of the week like their neurotypical counterparts? This research discusses how museums can utilize downloadable apps for personal devices to provide easily accessible resources for children on the autism spectrum and their families to use so they can have a more inclusive and sensory-friendly museum experience. To determine the feasibility of this, I worked in collaboration with an app developer, Peter Laurin, to create a prototype-app called SenseEase: Strong Museum for the Reading Adventure Land exhibit area at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester. The app caters to children ranging from four to twelve years of age, and aims to help prepare them and their families for their museum visit and help them cope with the overwhelming sensory stimulation that occurs in this particular museum environment. To evaluate the effectiveness of the app, I conducted two rounds of user testing, one with a general audience and one with my target audience for the app, and found that SenseEase: Strong Museum was a well-received and effective aid for children on the autism spectrum and their families navigating the unfamiliar and overstimulating environment at the museum.

Publication Date

4-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Student Type

Undergraduate

Degree Name

Museum Studies (BS)

Department, Program, or Center

Department of Performing Arts and Visual Culture (CLA)

Advisor

Juilee Decker

Advisor/Committee Member

Tamar Carroll

Advisor/Committee Member

Tina Lent

Campus

RIT – Main Campus

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