A Visitor in a Wheelchair Enjoys the Museums in Oakland

Perhaps your readers would like to know how much I continue to enjoy the museums despite the fact that multiple sclerosis has now confined me to a wheelchair.

There was a time when many of the museums' services were denied to me, because everything was not accessible.

Now I go again to look and listen, to learn and participate in virtually everything. It's like a visit to a French pastry shop and being told to take my choice after being restricted to a diet. What a feast of entertainments! The museums are easy for me to visit now. What I need is in place -- handicapped parking space, ramps, elevators, accessible restrooms, wheelchair locations and helpful people. Best of all, I have a feeling of belonging. Because my wheelchair is uncomfortable for lengthy stays, I sit in my own collapsible chair. I can do this in the grand old Carnegie Music Hall where I first attended Pittsburgh Symphony concerts 60 years ago. I can do this in the Carnegie Lecture Hall and The Museum of Art Theater. In all three I can see and hear everything and do not disrupt the enjoyment of others. It's good to know that all museum and library facilities are accessible now. There are ramps and elevators where long flights of stairs faced me before.

Since the Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law by President Bush on July 26, 1990, our nation's minds and hearts have turned to helping the "physically challenged." I felt proud and patriotic when my wife and I visited the massive Capitol of the United States in Washington. It is the capitol of my country and I was as welcome there as anybody. Now Pittsburgh's grandest and most monumental building, the century-old Carnegie, is again "mine"ùto enjoy and share. Never again will I be impeded and left out by narrow doors, broken pavement, steps and stairs, high thresholds, abrupt turn angles or parking spaces too far away to be practical.

At the Carnegie Museums people with disabilities are welcome and are received courteously. We have a lot for which to be grateful.

Hax McCullough
Fox Chapel