November 15, 2016
President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities

Subway Sleuths Honored at the White House

Many children have a passion for trains, including youngsters with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). To capture that enthusiasm, the New York Transit Museum has designed a program just for them. Subway Sleuths enables 7- to 11-year-olds with ASD to explore the Museum and its collections, while making friends, developing social skills they will need in school, and building self-confidence through special educational experiences.

The Transit Museum is an interactive, immersive hands-on “classroom” located in a historic subway station in Brooklyn. Exhibits feature such artifacts as maps, turnstiles, and, of course, vintage train cars. Because these young New Yorkers are already familiar with the subway system, the children are comfortable in the Museum’s environment, which makes learning easier for them.

The arts and humanities curriculum challenges Subway Sleuths to work collaboratively, in pairs and in groups, in a space they love. Among other activities, students design train stations and subway cars; go on scavenger hunts to locate historical artifacts; and study archival documents, such as photographs and maps. The education and museum specialists who work with the children see tremendous changes in such target areas as flexibility, social growth, and problem-solving skills.

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