Providing welcoming access for all visitors
The Worcester Art Museum celebrated and officially opened its new Lancaster Street entrance on December 2, 2021. The Lancaster Plaza, designed by WHY Architects, includes an elegant new staircase with granite treads and a steel frame. A new elevator provides accessibility to all three floors of the Museum's Higgins Education Wing, including the Lancaster Welcome Center.
This renovation of our Lancaster Street entrance was necessary because, after many years of exposure to the elements, the stairs had become both unsafe and unsightly. In addition, the entrance—the Museum’s busiest—was not accessible. This meant visitors and students who required an elevator were forced to go out of their way to enter or leave the Museum via a less convenient entryway.
Work on the new Lancaster Plaza began in November 2019 with the demolition of the existing concrete stairs. The project was suspended in March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and resumed in November 2020. The Museum remained open to the public throughout the project, except when closed during the pandemic lockdown period.
Architect: WHY Architects, recently named one of the top 100 architecture and design firms in the world by Architectural Digest. WHY also served as the architect for WAM’s Salisbury Access Bridge (2015) and continues to guide the Museum’s campus master plan.
Contractor: Kaplan Construction of Brookline, MA.
Funders: We are grateful to the following supporters who made this renovation possible
- C. Jean and Myles McDonough Charitable Foundation
- Ruth H. and Warren A. Ellsworth Foundation
- Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund
- The Fred Harris Daniels Foundation
- Stoddard Charitable Trust
- Hoche-Scofield Foundation
- and two Anonymous funders