Madison, Wis.– As part of a long-term museum-wide effort to welcome more visitors from a variety of backgrounds, the Chazen Museum of Art is making a dramatic change to its open hours. Beginning Sept. 3, 2019, the Chazen’s doors will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. The museum will be open a total of 84 hours per week, more than all of its peer museums, according to “Art Museums by the Numbers 2018”, an annual survey conducted by the Association of Art Museum Directors.
“True accessibility starts with our doors being open,” said Amy Gilman, Ph.D., director of the Chazen. “We all lead busy lives and we would love to see students, community members and tourists drop in for a few moments, for an hour, or on a schedule that makes sense for them.”
The new schedule is the first in a series of changes the museum will make in the coming year as staff develop “The Chazen Point of View,” a philosophy unique to the Chazen that seeks to fundamentally change how visitors interact with the museum. As universities grapple with changing demographics and cultural division, the Chazen has begun to explore and experiment with methods of deepening student, faculty and community engagement with art. Using a collaborative process begun in 2018, Gilman and her staff are working to demystify the museum experience by inviting visitors of all backgrounds to step into a place of beauty, respite, inspiration and learning.
The expanded hours will complement the opening of the new Chazen Café on the first floor of the building, scheduled for September of 2019. The Café, lobby and first-floor Rowland Gallery will open at 8 a.m. with the entire museum opening at 11 a.m. daily. Certain days will see school groups visiting for full museum tours between 8-11 a.m., a simple change that could dramatically impact the student experience.
“The new hours create windows of opportunity that can enhance the experience for all guests,” said Gilman. “College students and morning visitors will be able to drop by early for coffee and a visit to the first floor galleries while school groups enjoy their tour during a quiet time of day. This is just one example of how, by thinking differently, we can welcome more people and make the experience more enjoyable. Over the next year we will be exploring how we can make additional changes in this same spirit.”