Family Program | Neurodiverse Drag Story Hour, Session 1

Celebrate Pride Month with Cooper Hewitt! At this sensory-friendly Drag Story Hour, a storyteller will read picture books about self-expression, and get you singing and moving to your own beat. Explore artist and designer Es Devlin’s set creations, on view in the exhibition An Atlas of Es Devlin, which help some of the biggest performers in the world convey who they are to audiences. Then, consider: How would you express your larger-than-life self on stage? Inspired by storyteller Bad News Bear, create a portrait of yourself exactly how you want to be seen and turn it into a set for your own pop star alter ego! This fun and fabulous program will celebrate all forms of difference and give you confidence to express yourself. Dress up, dress comfortably, or dress as you are every day. Session 1 will be sensory-friendly, designed for children and families who prefer a less stimulating environment; it will be held in a quieter space with lower lighting and a smaller group of participants than Session 2.


Bad News Bear (he/they/dude) has been a drag performer, both Queen & King, for over six years bringing his punky-clown persona all over New York and beyond. They are passionate about trans & queer storytelling being represented and made available to kids and adults of all ages. In addition to dude’s work with DSH NYC, Bad News Bear is involved in promoting all-ages drag and has worked at a summer camp for queer kids teaching them all about drag and helping them create their own drag characters.

Book List
Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall
Thelma the Unicorn, by Aaron Blabey
I Am Famous, by Tara Luebbe
I Got the Rhythm, by Connie Schofield-Morrison and Frank Morrison
Just Add Glitter, by Angela DiTerlizzi
Julian is a Mermaid, by Jessica Love
Mary Had a Little Glam, by Tammi Sauer
Not Quite Snow White, by Ashley Franklin
Oglivy, by Deborah Underwood
From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea, by Kai Cheng Thom


Session 1: Storytelling in Lecture Room 11:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. ET. Hands-on Activity in Design Studio, 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This session is for neurodiverse youth.

  • Program Length: 45 min. for the story time. Afterwards, stay for as long or as little as you like for a hands-on design activity.
  • Interactivity Level: Medium
  • Intended Audience: Youth ages 5-12 with their adult guardian/family. Session 1 is specially designed for neurodivergent children and their families, but all children are welcome. Family Programs are designed for youth and their adult guardian/caregivers. Adults must stay with their youth during the activity and are encouraged to participate.
  • This program includes museum admission.


  • Location: This program will take place in person in the Lecture Room and the Design Studio at Cooper Hewitt (2 East 91st Street, New York, NY). The Lecture Room and the Design Studio are on the ground floor of the museum and fully wheelchair accessible. There is an accessible restroom on the ground floor. Read more about accessibility at Cooper Hewitt.
  • What to Expect: The story hour will encourage singing and movement. The hands-on design workshop will include drawing, cutting, and gluing actions. A social story will be emailed to all registrants before the event.
  • Accommodations:  For general questions, or if we can provide additional accessibility services or accommodations to support your participation in this program, please email us at or let us know when registering. Please make your accommodation request as far in advance as possible—preferably at least one week before the program date when possible.

Special Thanks

Design learning at Cooper Hewitt is made possible by eBay Inc., The Hirsch Family Foundation, The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, The Pinkerton Foundation, PwC Charitable Foundation, The Richard and Jean Coyne Family Foundation, with internal Smithsonian Institution funds from the Youth Access Grants for Youth Innovation in Rural America, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.