Sensory Saturday at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum Focuses on Getting Along

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum welcomes families with children on the autism spectrum with a Sensory Saturday series. Adult lectures will rotate monthly with sensory-friendly programs for the whole family. The Feb. 16 event offers a family day full of crafts, activities, and songs related to peace and getting along. Families with children on the autism spectrum are invited to enjoy a family concert by Joe Reilly at 11 a.m., planetarium shows at lower volumes at 12 p.m. and 1 p.m., interactive story times from 1 to 3 p.m., and hands-on activities and crafts from 1 to 4 p.m. This free program is designed for families with children on the autism spectrum but is open to all visitors.

Joe Reilly is a singer, songwriter, and educator from Ann Arbor, Michigan, who writes songs from his heart. This free family concert, focused on peace, will take place in the theater at 11 a.m. Reserve tickets online or at the front desk. Seating is limited.

His songs are playful, clever, engaging, joyful, and always have something meaningful to say. The core of his message is an invitation to heal our relationships with ourselves, with each other, and with the Earth. Reilly uses his music to bring people together and build community across lines of race, class, gender, ethnicity, religion, age, and nationality. He is Italian, Irish, and Native American (Cherokee) and was raised in Kalamazoo in a creative household by musical parents who encouraged him to find his own voice.

Hear stories about friendship in the Museum’s second floor ThinkTank from 1 to 3 p.m. Crafts and related activities will take place in the Innovation Lab from 1 to 4 p.m. Same, Same, but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw explores a pen-pal relationship between boys in America and India. Michigan author Kenneth Kraegel’s book The Song of Delphine shares a story about conflict and resolution.

The 12 p.m. planetarium show, The Little Star That Could, and the 1 p.m. show, Polaris: The Space Submarine and the Mystery of the Polar Night, will be shown at a lower volume. Visit for a description of other shows throughout the day played at normal volume. Tickets for the planetarium are $3 per person.

The Museum offers sensory tools and noise-canceling headphones, available at the front desk, for use in the galleries, planetarium, and Theater. The Museum has a goal sheet with stickers for positive reinforcement, as well as a printed Museum guide to prepare for a visit. Stop by the information table to see what is available, and let Museum staff know which tools are most helpful.

Additional Sensory Saturday programs include another family day on April 20 and an adult lecture on March 16. Go to to learn more about this series and tools available to make family visits successful.

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is operated by Kalamazoo Valley Community College and is governed by its Board of Trustees.

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