Riverside Art Museum's KickstART Kits: A Promising Practice in Improving Access for Natural Science Education
The Riverside Art Museum (RAM) created KickstART kits during the Covid-19 pandemic to provide natural science education through at-home art making. Each kit is designed to inspire young learners to explore the natural world, and each kit has five art lessons with specific themes students can choose from: Animals, Art Around the World, Oceans of Fun, Desert, and Winter.
Museum staff recognized the kits were inaccessible to children who experience blindness or low vision. Originally, KickstART kits included printed paper lessons and two-dimensional, non-tactile projects. RAM applied for an AccessISL mini grant and secured funding to increase the accessibility of their KickstART kits.
RAM worked with local stakeholders, including the Blindness Support Services and the California School for the Deaf, to identify access barriers to art making and informal science learning. Materials now include tactile labels for distinguishing paint color and lessons have been updated to include more tactile components.
RAM intends to continue these promising practices by further assessing their museum and programs for accessibility barriers and listening to community stakeholders to identify opportunities for collaboration and growth.
For more information on increasing the accessibility of informal STEM learning programs, visit the AccessISL website.