Museum of Discovery Creates Total Solar Eclipse Social Story

Museum of Discovery has created a tool to help families with children prepare for the total solar eclipse next month – a social story. Social stories are written explanations in story form that are used to explain what to expect in a new situation. These tools are typically utilized for children with autism or neurodivergences but can be beneficial in explaining new experiences to any child.

The story, written and illustrated by museum staff, follows a little girl named Rachel as she prepares for and experiences the eclipse in Little Rock with her family while detailing some of the potential stressors of the event such as increased crowds, noises, and the darkness that will come with totality.

“While the eclipse is a cause for excitement for most Arkansans, it can be overwhelming for our friends in the neurodivergent community and their families, thus preventing them from positively experiencing the historical event or experiencing it at all,” says Chief Marketing Officer Kendall Thornton. “Our goal with the social story is to prepare them for what’s to come and set expectations to help alleviate stress.”

According to Thornton, the science center is working toward being more inclusive for the neurodivergent community by incorporating social stories and offering sensory backpacks, and a calming corner. Additionally, the museum will soon begin construction on a permanent Sensory Cove that will contain dimmable lighting, calming music, and sensory activities for guests to utilize if they become overstimulated. The space is expected to be completed this summer.

The social story and other educational eclipse resources are available for download on the museum’s website at Additionally, there will be limited printed copies of the story available at the museum. The project is supported by the Simons Foundation as a part of its “In the Path of Totality” initiative.

Museum of Discovery is offering hands-on educational programming for guests leading up to the eclipse and will offer extended hours the weekend of the event. Museum guests can enjoy eclipse demos, activities and opportunities to learn about how the eclipse will affect animal behaviors from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, and Sunday, April 7. Additionally, there will be a happy hour with Lost Forty Brewing from 4 to 7 p.m. that Saturday and Sunday in the science center’s great hall. On Monday, April 8, the same extended hours will apply, but the museum will be closed from 1 to 3 p.m. so that guests and staff can experience the eclipse.

The museum’s Explore Store has eclipse merchandise and viewing glasses available for purchase. For more information, visit or call 501-396-7050.

About Museum of Discovery

Founded in 1927, Museum of Discovery is one of the state’s oldest museums.  Its mission is to ignite and fuel a passion for science, technology, engineering, arts and math through dynamic, interactive experiences.  To learn more, visit