Quiet hours are times when people with autism can use selected services or places, in a friendly environment. We are currently seeking to introduce quiet hours in supermarket chains, so that autistic people and their families can shop without undue stress, anxiety or judgmental stares.
However, quiet hours can be introduced not only in stores! A good example comes from the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, which has introduced quiet hours for people with autism. According to Ms. Marta Maliszewska of the Museum on the Vistula River, the inspiration came from foreign initiatives. The concept was consulted with Ola Sztajerwald, who runs cultural projects for people with ASD, so that the activities undertaken would be adapted to the real needs of people on the spectrum
What are the quiet hours based on? According to Ms. Maliszewska, the acoustics of the exhibition space and the fact that we often present noisy works means that we also received information from some visitors that the noise level was sometimes inconvenient for them. Therefore, acting in accordance with the spirit of the Accessible Museum and trying to make our institution as friendly and open as possible, we wanted to enable people with sensory hypersensitivity to visit the exhibition in comfort. During "quiet hours" we also turn off works that emit very intense lights. At the reception desk of the Museum on the Vistula River, you can also pick up noise-canceling headphones for the duration of the exhibition visit, and on our website you will find a guide to the Museum
However, quiet hours are not the only initiative the Museum on the Vistula River is undertaking. As part of the 6th Warsaw Barrier-Free Culture Festival, which will take place in late September and early October, they are also organizing workshops for adults with ASD led by an educator and artist whose works are in the museum's collection. In addition, the museum regularly organizes workshops for families with children on the spectrum and for toddlers with autism themselves.
Taking such initiatives is hugely gratifying and fills with undisguised joy. The introduction of small facilities can be a huge change for people on the spectrum and make their lives better! Once again, congratulations to the entire team of the Warsaw museum for their attitude and openness! You can be an example for others!