Skip navigation

Social Stories


Smithsonian Institution Social Stories for Children with Pragmatic Skills Learning Disabilities


“Social Stories describe a situation, skill or concept in terms of relevant social cues, perspectives and common responses, in a patient and reassuring manner that is easily understood by its audience.” Carol Gray, author of Social Stories for the Smithsonian Museum.

Going Into a Museum (PDF)

  • Waiting in line can be stressful. This story outlines entrance procedures, the steps to follow when entering the museum. It can help to alleviate some of the anxiety of waiting in line and going through the Security process.

  • The 5 Big Place Rules (PDF)

  • Five easy rules designed to keep your child safe during a visit to the museum.

  • In the Museum, I May See (PDF)

  • Explains that items in this exhibit may be very old, make noises, or contain statues and plastic foods which are for portrayal purposes only.

  • Visiting a Museum with My Adult (Mom, Dad, My Teacher) (PDF)

  • Reinforces and reassures the child that he is safe in the care of his companion during the museum visit.

  • Understanding My Adult in a Big Place (PDF)

  • A reassuring and encouraging explanation of the importance of your parent or escort.

  • Museum Security Rules and Routines (PDF)

  • Illustrates the sequence of events required to complete a Security Check.

  • Learning about Museum Lockers (PDF)

  • A detailed explanation of using a ‘safe box’ for storage and why they may not always be available.

  • Keeping People in the Right Place (PDF)

  • Describes the different types of barriers which surround displays and explains their purpose.

  • A Display is Like a Chapter in a Book (PDF)

  • Introduces the concepts of a display and evolutionary change based on the needs of people and their communities in the context of the ‘America on the Move’ exhibit, which focuses on the evolution of transportation.

  • How to Share Museum Time with My Family/Class/Group (PDF)

  • Conveys the importance of staying with the group and waiting at each display to enable individual group members to fully appreciate the exhibit.

  • The Stories in a Museum (PDF)

  • This story reveals the diverse and exciting assortment of narratives to be found as reflected by the displays and exhibits.

  • Museum Noise (PDF)

  • Describes the variety of sounds one can hear at a museum and explains where they originate. This provides a contextual frame of reference which can help to improve comprehension of the noise environment and reduce the child’s level of anxiety.

  • Our Museum Map (PDF)

  • Acquaints the child with the ‘America on the Move’ exhibit map and explains how it can be used to follow and appreciate the stories contained within.

  • Waiting at a Museum (PDF)

  • Specifies the areas and explains the circumstances in which a child may have to wait during his visit.

  • The 5 Big Place Rules (PDF)

  • Explains the safety rules which should be adhered to during the visit.

  • A sampling of the various components of the ‘America on the Move’ exhibit which includes an introduction to personnel and the roles they perform in preparing the displays.


  • MISCELLANEOUS


    Star Spangled Banner Social Narrative (PDF)

    Glossary (PDF)