OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A local museum has become the first in Oklahoma to earn the Certified Autism Center designation.

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is now the first museum in Oklahoma to earn the designation.

The CAC is awarded to organizations that complete training and certification to better understand and assist autistic or sensory-sensitive individuals and their families during their museum visit.

“We want to provide a welcoming space for all of our guests, including those who are autistic or have sensory needs,” said President & CEO Natalie Shirley. “I’m proud of our staff and the work that went into securing this important designation for our museum.”

The museum now offers sensory kits for visitors created by the Autism Foundation of Oklahoma. The kits include tools to help ease anxiety and enhance communication for autistic individuals in high-stress situations.

Some items include noise-canceling headphones, communication cards, activity books, sunglasses, and sensory toys.

“IBCCES is excited to see more organizations focusing on accessibility we’re thrilled the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum has joined this movement by completing certification. There are millions of autistic individuals and their families who are actively seeking out organizations that are taking these steps to be more inclusive and accessible,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES board chairman.

The museum also offers American Sign Language interpreters upon advanced request, closed captioning in Museum theaters, and a quiet space for any guest feeling overly stimulated.