“I finally came over and then I met Ruth,” Roth said, referring to museum’s Executive Director Ruth Waters. “She was telling me that they needed volunteers, so after about a month or so, I’d been promoted from a backup deal to a co-chairman. So the promotion’s come fast.”
Although the museum’s facilities have been updated to meet the most recent ADA regulations, the crowded receptions posed a challenge for Roth, who found that it was difficult to maneuver in a scooter through crowds of people.
“We had a reception at the end of May and there was over a hundred people in here,” Roth said. “I remember I had to go from the desk to the restroom, and when there’s a hundred people stuffed in the deal there, it’s very difficult to get around. It’s just too crowded. The building is just too small.”
The idea to have a day set aside for people with mobility challenges came about as a result. As of last Tuesday, the museum and studios will open their doors for a second opening reception on the Tuesdays after their new exhibits debut. Although the gallery is accessible to everyone during its regular hours, the Tuesday receptions offer a less crowded and more relaxed option for mobility-impaired visitors.
“They want to look at it and then they want to stare at it and everything,” Roth said. “When you have too many people in here you just can’t do that.”
Waters said all it took was a little extra planning and consideration for the Tuesday reception. Placards and fliers were placed lower to be accessible to people in wheelchairs, and arrangements were made with their upstairs neighbors to use their front door, making the studios on the second floor accessible without an elevator.
Tuesday’s event attracted a small but enthusiastic group from Aegis Assisted Living in South San Francisco. The small turnout allowed them to take their time and enjoy the art in a relaxed environment.
“I noticed all the people who came today stayed about an hour,” Roth said. “They’re not rushed and they don’t have to worry about getting out of the way of other people and everything.
Aegis Assisted Living Director Ann Marie Andrez had arranged a trip to the museum for her residents before, and was excited that they’d have more opportunities to access a rich cultural experience so close to home.
“I met Ruth the first time when we came here, I think it was two months ago, three months ago,” Andrez said. “We’d never seen anything like it.”
The Peninsula Museum of Art changes exhibits about every two months and its next opening will be in September. Visit http://www.peninsulamuseum.org for the latest details on their next exhibit and upcoming events.