MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation has launched a new app designed to aid families affected by autism and other sensory processing disorders before, during and after a visit to the interactive science museum. The app offers tech solutions to help make museums and other cultural institutions more inclusive. The launch of Access MOXI marks the first time such an app has become available for a museum in Southern California and is free to download on iOS and Android devices.
Although the app is designed for guests with autism and sensory-processing disorders, it also aids all guests by making them feel welcome, prepared, and comfortable with their visit to MOXI. The app helps individuals with autism and their families plan a sensory-friendly trip to the museum. MOXI’s three floors are filled with a variety of exciting exhibits divided into seven tracks, including areas focused on light, sound, and speed. However, these same elements can be stressful for guests with sensory-processing disorders.
“Accessibility has been and will continue to be a priority for MOXI. We’re honored to be a part of a pilot test of this unique and impactful way to use technology as way to better prepare guests for a visit to our interactive museum,” says Ron Skinner, director of education at MOXI. “My hope is that this app, along with our other accessibility efforts, will help those of all ages and abilities feel more welcome and comfortable in our space.”
The app has many capabilities including a customizable profile, visual schedule, sensory-friendly map, social guides, and a MOXI memory game for when users need a break from the exhibits. The social guides cover everything from how to prepare for a visit, to what to expect when arriving, as well as detailed descriptions and video previews of the exhibits. Social guides can also be individualized to the user’s preferences.
The app also serves as a communication tool by allowing non-verbal communicators to express their feelings and needs by selecting a text-to-speech icon. Similarly, parents can use the same feature to communicate rules and reminders to their children.
MOXI strives to make all guests feel comfortable and welcome so that they can play, discover, and explore all the museum has to offer. The new app is just one of MOXI’s variety of accessibility resources. The museum has an all-gender restroom on its first floor, accessible restrooms on all three floors, dual-language—English and Spanish—signage and maps, as well as complimentary sensory backpack kits and wheelchairs available to check out. Both the accessibility efforts and the app are made possible by a grant from the Henry Peterson Foundation.
MOXI is located at 125 State St., Santa Barbara. For more information please visit moxi.org/access.