Open by reservation. Always free.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Chazen is closed Sept. 8–22

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Why do I have to wear a mask? Can I come in without one?

To safeguard the health of both the community and our staff, and in line with policy at the UW and Dane County Public Health order, we are requiring a face mask or covering for entry. If you forgot one when you come in, there are some available at the VSA desk in the Chazen lobby for your use.

Are you doing temperature checks on staff and visitors?

We are not conducting on-site temperature checks, but rather are in line with the UW policy, which asks anyone visiting campus to self-monitor for symptoms, including fever.

Why do I have to check in and provide contact information at the desk when I arrive?

Well first, we want to welcome you back in person! But also, as a part of the university, we are participating in campus-wide contact tracing initiatives. In order to keep both visitors and staff safe, it’s important for us to be able to pass along your contact information if the need arises. We also want to be sure to keep you informed as we continue to expand our hours and offerings.

What are your new hours?

The Chazen is closed from Sept. 8 through Sept. 22, as part of a campus-wide effort to reduce the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

What are you doing to keep the museum clean?

Museum staff is wiping down high-touch surfaces frequently, including entry and exit door handles, elevator buttons (interior and exterior), hand railings, the visitor services desk, visitor cubbies, and bathroom door handles. Hand sanitizer is also available at all entrances and near other high-touch areas.

Can I still use the lockers?

We have removed the locker doors so you can stash your things inside the cubbies while you look around. Removing the doors ensures that we can keep the spaces clean.

When will you resume public programming?

Public programming will resume when it’s safe to do so. But—we’ve got a robust slate of programming online that will continue indefinitely. If you aren’t familiar with our Facebook page or our events calendar, please check them out for a schedule of talks and discussions.

How many people are you letting in the museum at once?

We can accommodate between 20 and 25 people per time slot at this time.

How large of a group can I bring to the museum, and do we all need to be from the same household?

Groups are limited to six per party. You are required to give contact information for the group, so if you are not from the same household, we must still be able to contact the entire party if that becomes necessary.

Is there a route I should follow through the museum?

Yes, we have a suggested route. The Rowland Gallery is large, and we ask that you maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet from other guests who are not in your party while touring the exhibits. Other galleries are smaller, and we ask you to be aware of occupancy limits in those spaces.

When will the rest of the museum be open?

We’re reopening in stages. First, we want to be sure we can keep guests and staff safe while enjoying the first three floors of the Chazen. We are also working hard to stay within the guidelines set out by Dane County when it comes to indoor gatherings. Keep an eye on this page and social media channels, especially Facebook, for announcements of when more galleries might open.

When does the café open?

The Chazen Café is scheduled to reopen on September 1. Hours will be Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

What if someone starts to feel sick while at the museum?

If someone starts to feel sick while they’re at the museum, we’ll ask them to let a member of visitor services know. If necessary, security staff for the museum will call for an ambulance. If they feel well enough to travel home, we will encourage them to leave as soon as they begin to feel ill.

What will you do if you find out someone who’s tested positive for COVID has visited the museum?

The university is working with the health department to ensure that we have information for contact tracing in the event it is necessary.

What is considered “exposure?”

The CDC defines exposure as close contact (less than 6 feet) for 15 or more minutes.

What measures are in place to monitor staff for COVID symptoms?

The staff self-monitors for COVID symptoms and will not report to work if they feel unwell, have a documented or possible exposure, or experience any of the common symptoms. All staff will wear masks while onsite. The university is ramping up regular testing available to staff, faculty, and students, and is also hiring a specific contact tracing team for the university. For additional information you can look at the university’s Smart Restart website.

What type of COVID-19 training has the staff completed?

The staff has all been updated on new disinfection standards, occupancy limits, and what to do if someone falls ill at the museum.

Can I still put donations in the box when I arrive?

We would be delighted if you would consider a donation to the museum. At this time, we are not accepting cash donations through the boxes, but you can still make a donation of any amount.

Do you offer any audio tours?

We are not offering audio tours at this time, I’m sorry.

Can I just come in, or do I need a ticket?

We do ask that guests reserve a time in advance but we’ve got a few slots reserved for walk-ins.

How long can I stay?

Ticketed appointments last 45 minutes and start on the hour. We ask that you please stay as closely within that timeframe as possible in order to allow the next hour’s guests to enter.

What is the status of a wider campus opening?

As for the Chancellor’s decisions on opening here at UW in general, we’d recommend you take a peek at the Smart Restart website.


What exhibits do you have planned for the future? Has the schedule changed?

As of mid-September, we’re planning to resume our exhibition schedule, just a few months late. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust as needed. Check back here or on our Facebook page for more specific updates.

Can I still become a member/how can I support the museum?

If you’re able, please consider making a gift. We rely on the university for most of our operational budget and it is still unclear how budgetary changes at the university level will affect us. And, a gift of any size qualifies you for membership benefits. Here’s the appropriate website and an email if you have any questions.

How is my membership affected by the changes at the museum?


First, we’re grateful for your continued support. Because of Covid-19, many in-person benefits have been postponed for now, including events, curatorial classes, and the café discount. However, our membership coordinator is working on setting up virtual events in their place. If you’ve got any questions, please email us here.

The museum has a sculpture of Lincoln freeing a slave. Is that sculpture currently on view?

The museum’s collection does include a small marble version of Thomas Ball’s Emancipation sculpture, given to the museum in 1976. We recognize that this work is problematic in many ways and we’re following the national dialogue about the large bronze versions in public spaces. The sculpture is not currently on view as we consider how to display and contextualize it.