Good news: The Gallery Tower elevator is getting a slate of necessary upgrades. Bad news: It will be closed from January 9 through late March, 2012. Good news: Visitors can still reach all galleries via stairs. More good news, for those who can’t or don’t wish to use stairs: a series of “Secret Passage” tours to Galleries 5 and 6 and the Medtronic Gallery. Walker guides and visitors will get to those spaces riding a capacious freight elevator—and get a look behind the scenes in the process. Tours are free but registration is required; call 612.375.7600 for the schedule and to reserve your spot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are guests able to access all galleries by elevator?
Unfortunately, all galleries are not accessible at this time. All special exhibition galleries are accessible, and two collections galleries are accessible. An accessibility map is available to aid in navigating the galleries during construction.
Why is the elevator not operating?
The passenger elevator in the Gallery Tower has been in need of repairs and updates for quite some time—mostly general maintenance and newer parts for faster and more efficient trips. Unfortunately, the building design is such that not all galleries are accessible without the use of this elevator.
What repairs/updates are being done?
In addition to improving wait times, the elevator will be equipped with a new operating panel. This will improve the order in which requests for the elevator are received, and the new user panel will make the elevator easier to use and navigate. The new elevator will continue to feature Braille button indicators.
How long will the public elevator be out of service?
The repairs are expected to take 2 ½ months—from January 9 through late March.
Why aren’t all galleries accessible by other routes?
The brick Barnes building was constructed in 1971, before the Americans with Disabilities Act. Over the years, we have made modifications to the building to increase accessibility. (We have installed lift elevators between select floors, which the Barnes passenger elevator can’t otherwise reach.) Unfortunately, changing the structure of the elevator would mean renovating the entire building.
What options are available if a patron needs to get to an area of the building, but cannot take stairs?
For access to the restrooms, Art Lab, or Education & Community Programs offices, Walker staff members will gladly assist visitors in getting down the stairs. If a guest cannot get downstairs even with assistance, we recommend that they use the restrooms in the Theater Tower on the 2nd level in Gather.
How else is the Walker accommodating people during this construction period?
The Walker is offering Secret Passage Accessibility Tours on January 15 and 29, February 5 and 26, and March 11. During these tours, guides will take participants through the freight elevator to access Galleries 5, 6, and 7, which otherwise can only be reached by stairs.