KultureCity has partnered with the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University to make all of the programs and events that the museum organizes to be sensory inclusive. This new initiative promotes an accommodating and positive experience for all guests with a sensory issue who visit the Zimmerli.
The certification process, coordinated by curator of education Amanda Potter, entailed the staff at the Zimmerli being trained by leading medical professionals on how to recognize those visitors with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation. Sensory bags, equipped with noise canceling headphones (provided by Puro Sound Labs), fidget tools, verbal cue cards (produced in conjunction with Boardmaker), and weighted lap pads also are available to all guests at the Zimmerli who may feel overwhelmed by the environment.
Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD, and other similar conditions. One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to overstimulation and noise, which sometimes is part of the environment in a venue such as a museum. Zimmerli director Thomas Sokolowki said, “With its new certification, the Zimmerli is now better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible when attending any exhibition or program at the museum.”
Prior to visiting, families can download the free KultureCity App (for iOS and Android) where one can view what sensory features are available and where they can access them. Also on the App is the Social Story, which provides a preview of what to expect while enjoying a visit to the Zimmerli.
“To know that you soon will be able to enjoy art with the community is a true binding experience. Our communities are what shape our lives and to know that the Zimmerli Art Museum is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing,” said Dr. Julian Maha, Co-Founder, KultureCity. KultureCity works with numerous sporting venues, but is actively increasing its presence at cultural institutions such as the Zimmerli, Foosaner Art Museum, Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, and others.
KultureCity is a leading non-profit recognized nationwide for using their resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs; not just those with autism. Since the program’s inception, KultureCity has created over 350 sensory inclusive venues in four countries; this includes special events such as: NFL Pro Bowl, NFL Super Bowl, and MLB All-Star Weekend. KultureCity has won many awards for its efforts: NASCAR Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award in 2017; Cleveland Cavaliers’ Quiet Space Sensory Room at Quicken Loans Arena was a finalist for the 2018 Stadium Business Award; and the 2018 Clio Sports Silver for social good in partnership with Cleveland Cavaliers/Quicken Loans Arena. Recently, KultureCity was named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019 by FastCompany.
ZIMMERLI ART MUSEUM|RUTGERS
The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum houses more than 60,000 works of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary art. The permanent collection features particularly rich holdings in 19th-century French art; Russian art from icons to the avant-garde; Soviet nonconformist art from the Dodge Collection; and American art with notable holdings of prints. In addition, small groups of antiquities, old master paintings, as well as art inspired by Japan and original illustrations for children’s books, provide representative examples of the museum’s research and teaching message at Rutgers. One of the largest and most distinguished university-based art museums in the nation, the Zimmerli is located on the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Established in 1766, Rutgers is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and a premier public research university.
Admission is free to the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers. The museum is located at 71 Hamilton Street (at George Street) on the College Avenue Campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The Zimmerli is a short walk from the NJ Transit train station in New Brunswick, midway between New York City and Philadelphia.
The Zimmerli Art Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and select first Tuesdays of the month, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays, as well as the month of August.
For more information, visit the museum’s website www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu or call 848.932.7237.