Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Front Entrance Accessible to All

Since 1993, visitors unable to climb the Addison's front steps entered the building via our lower-level handicapped-accessible entrance located on the north side of the building. While they were greeted with the model ships, they had to take a ride up an elevator and make their way down our main hall to get to our majestic rotunda to speak with our greeter at the front information desk. This was not at all how the building's architect, Charles A. Platt, had envisioned visitors experiencing the design of the building. All should enter through the portico and front doors, into the rotunda, and from there into the galleries.

Finally, once our renovation is complete, all visitors will be able to enter the museum as Platt had intended. A new elevator is being installed behind our front facade (see above and right). Visitors unable to climb the front stairs will enter the ground level elevator located just to their left. The elevator will bring them up to the front portico where, crossing a newly leveled surface, they will be able to enter the museum through the front doors.

The rotunda will still feature our Paul Manship fountain, albeit restored and flowing properly, but the information desk will be moved to restore the space to its original, intended, uncluttered appearance. The desk will be relocated to one of the side halls off the rotunda opposite our newly refurbished and expanded gift shop occupying a former office. This will allow our all our visitors ample room to easily move through the museum's front entryway and experience the building as Platt had intended.

Images and news from our construction site can be found here on our website and are updated on a regular basis (see left). Please check back often to see how the project is progressing and to learn how soon our front entrance will be open and accessible to all!

James M. Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

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