Thanks to the generosity of the Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association, WonderLab has replaced our 20 year old doors and installed new automatic door openers. WonderLab requested and received $12,222 from the BUEA to fund automatic door openers to improve accessibility. WonderLab expensed $12,650 for the openers (see attached receipt below), with the remaining balance of $430 supported by an Anonymous Donor. These automatic door openers have greatly increased accessibility to the Museum facility for both visitors and staff.

The new doors and automatic openers were installed on August 14th-15th, 2023. In the past two months since the installation, staff and visitors have reported on the positive difference the doors and openers have made. Staff members commented that visitors with strollers and wheelchairs are noticing and utilizing the automatic door openers. A frequent Museum visitor, and WonderLab member, has a daughter who uses an assistive walking device. In the past, Visitor Service staff had to leave the desk to assist the mother and child when entering the building. The pair came to WonderLab the week the openers were installed, and the mother was thrilled. She said, “I’m so happy you have automatic openers now. They made it so much easier to get in the building, and [my daughter] loved pressing the buttons.”

As our visitors get used to the Museum’s new openers, front desk staff can use a remote to open the doors from the desk if they see a patron who needs help. This occurred recently when a parent pushing a large two-seat stroller and carrying a small child struggled to enter the building.

A staff member, instead of creating a potential security risk by leaving the desk to help the family, used the remote to open the doors. The parent looked relieved and expressed how having automatic doors makes it much easier to enter the Museum with three young children.

The automatic doors also assist staff with daily duties that were difficult to perform previously. Staff use large carts to bring in bags and lunches from school groups, and other Museum materials. It was often a struggle to navigate these carts through the doors without the assistance of another staff member. Now, getting through is much easier and less time consuming. The openers also prevent bumps and bruises from struggling to hold the doors open while entering with large bulky items and getting bumped by the doors as they close.

Everyone at WonderLab is thrilled that we are now able to provide this vital accessibility option.