Press Release  July 25, 2019

Wisconsin Museum to Become Most-Open Museum in North America

Anton Grassi

The Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, WI

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, faculty, 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.” 


The Chazen Museum of Art makes its home between two lakes on the beautiful campus of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Within walking distance of the state capitol, it sits squarely in the heart of a vibrant college town. Featuring one of the best views on campus, an art-filled bridge connects the historic Elvehjem building, built in 1970, with the Chazen building, built in 2011. This connection represents both a physical and intellectual joining of human art history and the most dynamic artistic explorers of today.

With a permanent collection of more than 22,000 objects, from vessels of ancient Greece to prints by Kara Walker, the Chazen is the second largest museum in Wisconsin. Two expansive buildings encompass 176,000 square feet, making it the largest museum in the Big Ten. More than 100,000 visitors come through the Chazen’s doors each year to enjoy the permanent collection and special exhibitions. Admission is free for all visitors and includes programs for students, families and community members, all provided with the museum’s unique brand of Wisconsin hospitality.

More information, including the schedule of visiting exhibitions and events, can be found at


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