Special Needs and Accessibility Program

The Tower of David is dedicated to making the museum inclusive and accessible for all our visitors. Whether a visitor has physical, emotional or neurological disabilities the TOD believes that everyone has the right to enjoy our world-class cultural site and learn about the stories and events that make up the city of Jerusalem. To further that aim, the Tower of David Museum has established a far-reaching program of inclusivity and accessibility that offers museum activities to people with special needs, that incorporates technology and innovation and that reaches out to affect change in the cultural sphere.

The TOD began by launching a radical program for families with children with special needs that addresses the entire family. In most cases, families with special needs children do not visit museums because of the crowds and the stress. To solve this problem, we host families with all their children, those with and without special needs, during the hours when the museum is usually closed so they can visit the museum galleries in a stress-free environment and enjoy special creative workshops and programming that is geared to the needs of all the family members.

Building on this success, the Museum expanded this program beyond families with young children, to include older adults as well. Working together with advocacy groups like SHEKEL, the museum developed a unique program for adults with cognitive disabilities that also includes a guiding course in the museum.  Additionally, the TOD hosts independent groups of people with sight and hearing disabilities and is currently working towards using technology to make the Night Spectacular night show accessible to both the sight and hearing impaired.

The TOD Innovation Lab is playing a large part in the development of Special Needs programs and services.  The Lab was established to help integrate technology into the museum experience to provide a better encounter for all visitors, both with and without disabilities. Technologies currently being developed include designing digital games that can be used by children with autism and developmental disabilities and creating virtual reality experiences for people with mobility issues.

In order to magnify the influence of our programs for people with special needs, the Museum created a forum of museums in Jerusalem to share best practices and encourage the development of special programming.  We are working to further expand this network to include cultural sites throughout Israel.  The Tower of David Museum has plans to sponsor conferences and workshops to share experiences so that all museums will be able to plan and produce appropriate events for special needs.

An advisory committee of experts was established to guide our efforts and offer professional advice and help to make the Museum accessible, physically and emotionally.

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