Issue: #2 
May 2015 
In This Issue
News from the Fields of Disability, Museums, and Historic Preservation
Dear Friends of the Historic House Trust,
Spring has finally come and it is an exciting time for both the Wagner program and the Greater disability community.  This July will mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a landmark piece of legislation that has proved pivotal in ensuring access and inclusion for people with disabilities, including at museums. 
Roof Raiser volunteers, Jon Marshall and Chris Williams, at Bartow Pell wear blue for Autism Awareness Day, April 2nd
The Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD)will be marking the anniversary with ADA25NYC, an Arts and Culture initiative that will include a series of events to mark the occasion including a parade, history exhibit, and lectures.  In addition, cultural organizations, such as HHT, are organizing events of their own that fit into celebrating the passing of the ADA and continue into the future enhancing accessibility and inclusion in NYC

We have a number of programs scheduled at our houses for this spring and summer including adaptive theatre productions, interactive art installations, and a new round of training sessions.  In addition, the Devereux Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Pilot Program has gotten off the ground and we are looking forward to the benefits this partnership will bring to our houses.      


Ansel Lurio
Program Manager - Jeanette and Paul Wagner Educational Program for Children with Disabilities  
Historic House Trust of New York City
Houses for Devereux's Pilot Program for Children with Autism Identified
Five HHT sites have been chosen to be involved in a program developed by Devereux to help adapt historic house museums to become more autism-friendly. This will include advising the sites in the creation of Autism-Friendly Days and the production of site-specific "Social Stories". The houses chosen for this innovative program include the Queens County Farm Museum, Morris-Jumel Mansion, Old Stone House, Lefferts Historic House, and Historic Richmond Town. Our  partnership with Devereux will help in the development of autism-friendly programming throughout the network of the Historic House Trust's sites.   
Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum to Hold Artist-Led Family Workshop
In conjunction with MJ Levy Dickson's art installation Like Seaglass: A Hand Full of Light-Reflection  
From May 1st-10th, 2015, Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum presents a formal garden fountain pool installation of handcrafted glass pieces by MJ Levy Dickson, Like Seaglass: A Hand Full of Light-Reflection.  Colorful tumbled and molded glass shapes fill the fountain pool of the historic site's formal garden. The illuminated installation responds to the environment in which it is placed, and the glass, like water, reflects the shapes and colors of clouds, sky, and treetops. The exhibit is made possible with generous support provided by the Historic House Trust's Jeanette and Paul Wagner Educational Program for Children with Disabilities and Contemporary Art Partnerships, along with the New York State Council on the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts.

In conjunction with the exhibit, an artist-led family workshop, Search and

Discovery, will be held on June 7, 2015, from 2 to 4 PM, allowing people with disabilities the chance to participate in the art process and explore the sensory and tactile nature of the art glass creations of MJ Levy Dickson. Participants will be able to take piece of their choice from the glass arrangement and discover relationships with the colors, shapes, and textures that they find around them on the mansion grounds. This inclusive program will foster sensory engagement and art appreciation for diverse audiences.    


The program, for ages 6 and up, is free, but registration is requested at 718-885-1461 or   

"Before We Grew" Play for Children with Autism Performed at Old Stone House
This May, Spellbound Theatre and the Old Stone House, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts, presented a multi-sensory, non-narrative performance appropriate for families with children on the Autism spectrum. The performance was tactile, participatory, and relied on visual storytelling and one-on-one connection between performers and audience. The show had its initial public performances on May 2nd and 3rd at 10 AM and 1 PM.
Spellbound artists worked with Old Stone House Education Director Maggie Weber and
One of the whimsical puppets from the production of "Before We Grew
the education staff of the Old Stone House as well as Autism Spectrum Disorder experts from Devereux to create an interactive performance structure appropriate for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Throughout the winter and spring, artists were working in residence at the Old Stone House in order to devise, build, and rehearse the show.


The play is an adaptation of Spellbound Theatre's "Under the Tree," using previously successful materials, context, and design of this show, but creating an entirely new performance, integrating best practices of creating Autism-friendly performances as well as the historical context of The Old Stone House and New York State history and environmental education. Using puppetry, animation and music, "Before We Grew" tells the story of Hendrick, a young boy who lived here long ago.  Join Hendrick as he explores the world around him and meets birds, bugs, a chipmunk and more.  Following its successful initial run, this project will be appropriate for touring to additional performance sites. 



Year End Appeal

The Jeanette and Paul Wagner Program for Children with Disabilities was featured in the Historic House Trust's 2014 Year end appeal.  Contributions donated to the Historic House Trust in response to the appeal went directly to the Wagner program.  We thank you for your generous support of this important program.
Ansel Lurio speaks about the Jeanette and Paul Wagner Program for Children with Disabilities.
Wagner Program Partners