Physical Access Projects

We strive to make our sites as welcoming as possible to people with disabilities. Click here for a link to a table that gives a general picture of the accessibility of HHT’s sites. It’s advisable that you contact the site you would like to visit ahead of time for the best possible experience. Also, the accessibility of our houses can change due to weather, construction, and other circumstances. Note – Audio/verbal descriptions of the exteriors of many of our properties are available at New York Beyond Sight.

Plan for Ramp at Lott House


Plan for Ramp at Bartow-Pell
Ramp on left leads up to brick pathway in city parkSteps on left lead up to brick pathway in city park
Ramp at Morris-Jumel Mansion
Plan for Ramp at Poe Cottage

The physically disabled are an under-represented group of visitors to house museums because they often cannot even get in the buildings. Less than 3% of historic house museums have front door access for the physically disabled and even fewer have access to other floors. HHT’s sites are no exception. In 2010, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation created an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) transition plan, that included all of the Historic House Trust’s sites.  Based on this plan, a number or ramps and other physical access features have been projected for our sites.

Historic Richmond Town

Thanks to support from the Wagner Program, Historic Richmond Town was able to get a grant from the Rotary Club of Staten Island to purchase portable suitcase ramps for ten of their houses. Prior to this grant Historic Richmond Town had one portable ramp that it had to move from building to building. By increasing the number of ramps at Historic Richmond Town, access has become easier, and it is now more feasible to have a successful program at the site for children with disabilities.

2020 Accessibility Initiative

The New York Community Trust has awarded the Historic House Trust of New York City (HHT) $339,000 to improve physical and intellectual access to public house museums in ways that are beneficial to people living with disabilities. This project—led by a team specializing in ADA compliance within historically-significant environments, and with experience creating innovative accessibility programs—will position HHT and its 23 historic sites at the forefront of such initiatives across the nation.

The substantial funding will facilitate the creation of a tangible plan for improving accessibility to HHT’s significant cultural treasures. The organization will also launch pilot programs that invite all populations to participate in the educational opportunities these resources provide. This two-year initiative will include an accessibility audit; the creation of concrete recommendations for pressing needs; and the implementation of solutions through the introduction of new programming, technologies, and tools at five historic house museum sites.

Click below to read the full press release.


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