Sensory-Friendly Morning is a free, sensory-modified program for visitors of all ages who have sensory sensitivities or are neurodivergent and their families. The event takes place prior to regular museum hours. Visitors can participate in activities and special performances or explore the museum at their own pace. See a full list of activities, performances, and other sensory-friendly offerings below.
Space is limited to reduce crowds, and preregistration is required. Prior to Sensory-Friendly Morning, preregistered guests will receive pre-visit materials to help prepare them for their time at the museum.
Use this social story or this sensory guide to help you prepare for your visit. These resources highlight logistical information for your visit as well as some of the people, activities, and sensory stimuli you may encounter during your visit.
Use this sensory map as a guide for finding spaces that tend to be quieter and less crowded, have low light, and allow for tactile engagement and activities. Similar materials are available to help plan your visit at any time on our Access page.
Visitors are welcome to stay in the museum after Sensory-Friendly Morning for our UPS Second Sunday program. Please note that large crowds are expected beginning at 12 noon for UPS Second Sunday.
Have a question? Ask one of our friendly staff members for assistance! From distributing noise-canceling headphones to letting you know where our favorite artwork is, we’re happy to help.
10:30 and 11:30 a.m.
Join a storyteller from the Alliance Theatre for an interactive story time!
Drop-In Art Making
Anne Cox Chambers Wing Lobby
10 a.m.–12 noon
Create a colorful collage inspired by the landscape artworks in the museum’s galleries! Drop in any time to hear about the project from a teaching artist, and then experiment with materials at your own pace!
Taylor Lobby, Wieland Pavilion
10 a.m.–12 noon
Designed for children ages two through twelve, smARTbox is an art supply box with activities and materials to help you learn more about the museum’s galleries and special exhibitions! Register for your smARTbox today and get additional art activities and supplies. Come back every month for new materials and ways to explore!
The best part? It’s totally free!
smARTbox Activity Card Stations
High Museum Galleries
Grab your smARTbox and explore the galleries with our friendly gallery guides. Find the artworks on your smARTbox activity cards. A staff member will be there to answer questions, help with the art activity, or tell you more about the artwork.
Meet in the Taylor Lobby
10:15 and 11:15 a.m.
Engage directly with works of art in the galleries through docent-led tours!
Greene Family Learning Gallery: EXPLORE and CREATE
Stent Family Wing
Located adjacent to the Robinson Atrium in the Stent Family Wing, the Greene Family Learning Gallery includes two distinct spaces that offer a welcoming, safe, child-centered, child-directed environment with fun age-appropriate activities for kids ranging from babies to eight-year-olds. The open-ended, intuitive, multisensory elements, designed to be inclusive for all, combine cutting-edge technology with hands-on activities.
Take a Break Space
Yellow Workshop, Education Center, Stent Family Wing, Lower Level
10 a.m.–12 noon
Need to take a break? Spend some time in our Take a Break Space, with low lighting, the sights and sounds of soft ocean waves, and books and tactile objects.
Sensory-Friendly Chamber Performance with ASO Musicians
Rich Theatre, Memorial Arts Building | 10 and 11 a.m. (Performances last forty-five minutes)
Enjoy a private chamber ensemble performance by ASO musicians in a relaxed, casual setting. Following the performance, the audience will have the opportunity to have an open dialogue and Q&A with the ASO musicians about what it is like to be a professional musician. House lights will stay on for better audience visibility during this performance. Noise levels will be lowered, and movement and vocalizations are encouraged. There is no assigned seating. Access to the stage will be blocked off.
Sensory-Friendly Behind-the-Scenes ASO Tour
Azadi Galleria, Memorial Arts Building | 10 and 11 a.m. (Tours last thirty minutes)
Experience a behind-the-scenes tour of Symphony Hall. Groups will be able to walk on stage, visit the production area, and learn about the different departments that work together to operate the symphony. Group size is limited to thirty people. Movement and vocalizations are encouraged. Tour guides will set parameters regarding stage access, and musician and instrument interaction. During the tour, staff will be on hand to assist families in finding quiet areas.
Alliance Theatre’s Bernhardt Theatre for the Very Young Sensory-Friendly Performance: (Knock, Knock)
Selig Family Black Box Theatre, Memorial Arts Building
9:45 and 11:15 a.m.
(Performances last approximately thirty-five minutes)
Free, but preregistration is recommended
Join a sensory-friendly performance of one of the Alliance Theatre’s favorite holiday productions, (Knock, Knock)! During this performance, house lights will remain on for improved patron visibility, movement and vocalizations are welcome and encouraged, and audio levels have been reduced.
Welcome to the Apartment Building. Below us, above us, and beside us, the residents are preparing for the holidays and trying to stay warm. Join us on a floor-to-floor adventure, meeting and celebrating with a variety of friends who all call the Apartment Building home. Surprises hide behind each door—all you need to do is (Knock, Knock).
Meet Your Seat: Alliance Theatre’s A Christmas Carol
Coca-Cola Stage, Memorial Arts Building
12 noon–12:30 p.m.
Meet Your Seat is an opportunity to practice the sometimes stressful process of attending a play. At Meet Your Seat, a trained Alliance Theatre staff member will walk you through picking up tickets, scanning tickets, and finding your physical seat, and will go over expectations of the performance you will see. Alliance Theatre crew members and technicians will show examples of loud or bright technical elements from the production, giving families a chance to plan for self-regulation when they see the show. Families are welcome to vocalize and move around the audience seating to their comfort level. Meet Your Seat takes approximately thirty minutes.