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Nelson-Atkins to Take Visitors on Quite a Ride; Shuttlecarts Launch with Monet Exhibition
Julián Zugazagoitia, Director & CEO of the Nelson-Atkins, drives students in a Shuttlecart. Photograph: Mark McDonald.

KANSAS CITY, MO.- In an ongoing effort to make The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City more accessible for all, the Museum will pilot a program in which transportation carts take museum-goers on two different routes inside the Museum. The two electric carts, called Shuttlecarts, will debut at the opening of the Monet’s Water Lilies exhibition April 9.

“The amazing growth of the Nelson-Atkins has sparked so much excitement that we want everyone to experience this entire Museum,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell Director & CEO. “I had a conversation with Crosby Kemper in which he echoed a concern we have heard from many others, that some visitors have difficulty navigating the distances. After discussions with Museum staff, the carts seemed to be the best solution, and Crosby wholeheartedly embraced the idea and was instrumental in securing the donation that made this possible.”

R. Crosby Kemper, Jr., Chairman Emeritus, UMB Bank, championed the use of electric carts, and funding for the pilot program was approved by The Carter Community Trust on Kemper’s recommendation.

The Nelson-Atkins covers 23 acres, with 400,000 square feet of space in the Museum. The Bloch Building expansion increased the Museum square footage by 71 percent, providing new galleries and Museum support. The Shuttlecarts will operate on a rotation of two separate routes, one down the gallery walk in the Bloch Building and the other to Kirkwood Hall and Rozzelle Court Restaurant in the original building, making it easy for any visitor to go from one part of the Museum to another in a short time.

“To our knowledge, no other art museum offers this service,” said Mark Zimmerman, Director of Administration. “These carts are all electric, so there will be no noise and no pollution. They were thoroughly tested for vibration, and meet rigorous environmental and conservation requirements.”

The carts will be operated by trained drivers who will offer passengers information about current and upcoming exhibitions, yet another free service to visitors. People of all ages are invited to ride on the carts.

“It’s important to note that this is not a tour or a taxi service,” said Michael Cross, Facilities/Security & Visitor Services Manager. “The carts have an established route and timing. It takes a cart about one minute to safely go the length of the gallery walk in the Bloch Building, which is about 400 feet. We have heard from many visitors that this is a long walk, so we’re providing this free service to make the entire Museum more accessible.”

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art | Julián Zugazagoitia | Monet |

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