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Sensory Backpack Pilot

We are pleased to announce that we are developing a sensory backpack program! Each backpack will be filled with resources to help visitors with extra sensory needs have a more enjoyable museum experience.

We need help to ensure our backpacks create as positive of an experience as possible, so in partnership with the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, we will be hosting a pilot program for kids to try out our current backpacks and collect feedback on how to make them better. Take the opportunity to have your say to make sure the program is beneficial for your family and community! 

This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund.

Program Dates & Times

The program will run on Tuesday August 15 and Saturday August 19. Each day will have a morning (9-11 am) and afternoon (1-3pm) time slot.

Please choose the time slot that works best for you, but note that we have a limit of 5 backpack users/wearers per time slot.

Each participant will get a free family pass for the day!

The pass is valid for the whole day, but you will only have the backpack during your time slot.

Two children wearing backpacks

What to Expect

Headshot of Alex McLean

Alex McLean, Ottawa Museum Network

Martha Boyd Head Shot

Martha Boyd, The Diefenbunker

At the beginning of the event, you will meet Alex and Martha, the event organizers. 

Alex and Martha will start with a brief introduction to the project and the Diefenbunker

Next, you get to explore the museum with the backpacks! You will get to choose between a self-guided or staff-led tour, depending on your preference 

After returning the backpacks, you will have the option to fill out a survey with feedback. If you don’t want to fill it out at the museum, you can always send us your feedback later! 

About Our Backpacks

Each backpack contains noise cancelling headphones, a couple books, and some sensory/fidget toys.

Please note that while each backpack carries the same type of items, the actual items to vary from backpack to backpack. The image to the right shows examples of some of the items you may find.

Our first set of backpacks were donated by Variety: The Children’s Charity of Ontario. In 2024 backpacks of varying sizes will be available at all 11 of our museums.

Sensory backpack items arranged in front of red backpacks

How to Register

Contact Alex at to learn how to register for the program, or if you have any questions. Spots are limited and will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis.


To learn more about what to expect during the event, we will have an access guide available soon!

Need more information about the Diefenbunker? Visit their accessibility page to learn more about their space. 


The Diefenbunker is located at:
3929 Carp Road
Ottawa, Ontario, K0A 1L0

Please note that the Diefenbunker is not accessible by transit.