Wistariahurst Museum strives to make our programs, history, art, and performance open and accessible to as many people as possible. Our goal is to remove barriers, provide a multitude of opportunities for engagement, and to adapt our historic space to the needs of a modern audience. We encourage anyone with concerns to call or e-mail ahead to discuss your needs and accommodations. With advanced notice we can provide a staff or volunteer member to accompany you on your visit.
Please contact Cheryl at [email protected] for more information.
Wistariahurst does not have a dedicated parking lot. Two handicapped designated spaces are available on Beech St. directly in front of the Museum entrances. Ample parking is available during events at the Holyoke Senior Center, one flat, street block away. During large events we will also cone off pick-up and drop-off spaces in front of our facility.
Wistariahurst welcomes any trained service animals needed for your health and assistance in the public areas of the facility. Due to the fragility of the mansion, it’s floors, and the artifacts contained within, we are unable to accommodate emotional support animals or other animals inside the historic structure. All animals are welcome in our gardens.
Food is permitted in certain areas of the Wistariahurst facility. We encourage visitors to make use of the gardens and grounds for picnics and eating. Food is welcome in the Carriage House Visitor’s Center. If you need to bring snacks into the historic Mansion at Wistariahurst, please alert a staff member for volunteer and they will assist you in enjoying your snack without endangering the historic collections.
Policies Regarding Objects at Wistariahurst
In the historic Mansion of Wistariahurst there are many objects that can be damaged by too much human touching and so you may see signs or barriers in some rooms of the Mansion. However, we aim to make visitors, of any age or need, at home in our spaces and we will always have volunteers and staff on hand to help you navigate the spaces in a way that is fun and safe for you and objects alike. For visitors who prefer touch as part of their interpretive experience, we have many items available to handle. If you would like an enhanced touch-friendly experience, please call ahead and we will be happy to design a visit just for you.
Carriage House Visitor’s Center
The Carriage House Visitor’s Center has a ramp entrance and a modern, accessible bathroom. It is brightly lit, climate controlled, and contains English-language panels of Holyoke’s history, as well as some artifacts.
The historic Mansion at Wistariahurst is a preserved 19th Century building. It contains a ramp entrance and the first floor, gallery, and Music Room spaces are all accessible by wheelchair, though the historic furnishing make some areas narrow. There is one accessible bathroom in the mansion. During special exhibits involving the second floor, we have photos and text materials available on the first floor for those unable to climb the stairs.
Chairs are available on both the first and second floors as needed. The mansion is not climate controlled and is often chilly or very warm, depending upon the season. Some areas have dim lighting. Although cleaned weekly, the old carpets, curtains, and other furnishings mean that visitors may be subjected to mold or dust.
The gardens at Wistariahurst are open to all from dawn until dusk. The main entrance can be found between the Carriage House and Mansions off the Beech St. driveway and are accessible to any wheelchairs equipped to travel across standard grass lawns. The primary areas of the formal gardens and lawns are mostly flat. High rains or other environmental factors may make the grounds muddy or uneven. There are three benches currently in the gardens, which visitors are welcome to make use of. At times when Wistariahurst is closed, there are no bathroom facilities.
The Wistariahurst archives are located on the second floor of the Carriage House. The room is not open to the public. Those looking to use the archive materials for research may use the meeting room on the first floor of the Carriage House and will be assisted by Archive volunteers who will bring items down for access. The second floor archive room is well-lit and climate controlled to 62 degrees at all times.
Most cultural events at Wistariahurst – concerts, lectures, performances, and receptions – take place in the Music Room at Wistariahurst. The Music Room is a large space with vaulted ceilings and all furnishings are movable and setups adapted to the event. The Music Room is wheelchair accessible and seating can be rearranged to accommodate most mobility needs. At night, the lighting in the Music Room is fairly dim.
The architectural construction of the Music Room provides excellent acoustics, and many artists prefer to play “unplugged.” However, this aspect can also at times mean that sound volume is hard to regulate. Visitors may need a break from loud music, in which case seating is set up in the adjacent Breakfast Room conservatory, which has no visibility of the stage but provides a soft but clear auditory experience. Echoing can also contribute to hearing issues in the Music Room. If you have concerns related to a particular performance, please call us ahead and we will be happy to assist with special arrangements.
Please note that the historic Music Room doors open inwards. In the case of emergency, please follow staff instructions for exit. Staff and volunteers are posted at every event. Events over 100 people are monitored by a Fire Dept. designated individual.
The Gallery at Wistariahurst can be found on the first floor of the historic Mansion. It is wheelchair accessible and well lit. It is not climate controlled and temps may vary seasonally. There is seating available in the Gallery.