National D-Day Memorial in Bedford opens early for sensory-friendly event

Local News

BEDFORD, Va. (WFXR) — The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford opened up an hour early on Saturday morning so visitors with sensory disabilities could experience the exhibit without the large crowds or loud noises.

From 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 7, the National D-Day Memorial hosted a sensory-friendly event known as “Kilroy’s Kids.” The National D-Day Memorial organizes one Kilroy’s Kids per quarter and — as mentioned on the Facebook page for the event — the theme for March was “We Can Do It, Too!: Women in WWII.”

According to Maggie Hartley, Associate Director of the National D-Day Memorial, Kilroy’s Kids allows people with sensory sensitivities such as autism, PTSD, and dementia to enjoy self-guided tours of the exhibit with limited crowds, no water or sound effects, and themed activities in the quiet Education Quonset Hut.

“Everyone has different abilities and even sensitivities, especially in the spring and summer. It can get really loud, really crowded up here, and some folks may not be able to enjoy that due to sensory differences,” says Hartley. “This is an opportunity for folks to take their time, explore what they want to see, and learn more about the history of D-Day.”

There will be two more Kilroy’s Kids openings this year on Aug. 1 and Dec. 19. Registration for these events will open two months in advance. To learn more, please contact the National D-Day Memorial’s Education Department by emailing education@dday.org or calling (540) 586-3329 ext. 111.

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