Accessibility at Van Vleck Observatory

A Note from the Astronomy Department

We are committed to making Van Vleck Observatory more accessible. As our building is historic, this is a challenge, but it is not impossible. We unfortunately cannot make any structural changes to the building at this time, what we can do is make changes in how we offer events. If you're interested in coming to visit, please contact Stef Dinneen ( to discuss your needs.

Our current accessibilty information can be found below:

Van Vleck Observatory
96 Foss Hill Drive

  • One ADA parking space in O Lot (lot closest to observatory)
  • Ramped entry on one side
  • Accessible entrance with power assist door
  • Accessible building 1st floor only (no elevators to travel to basement or telescopes)
  • One single occupant ADA accessible/All Gender restroom on 1st floor (no automatic door)
  • One single occupant All Gender Restroom on 1st floor (not ADA accessible)
  • Video communication in the Library to the 20 inch Alvan Clark Great Refractor

 This link will take you to the accessibility information for all buildings on Wesleyan's campus.

Interior Map of Van Vleck Observatory



VVO Accessibility FAQ

You have questions, we have answers.
  • Where do I park?

    Visitors without accessiblity needs should park in V Lot which is located on Vine Street near the Wesleyan tennis courts. This is a short walk to the observatory either via stairs directly across the street, or by walking up Vine Street. Directions here.

    Those visitors that do have accessibility needs can park in O Lot which is located right at Van Vleck Observatory. We currently have one ADA parking space which is located on the side of the building with our ramp, and nine regular parking spaces. Parking is not guaranteed in this lot.

  • Do you offer hearing support for your events or exhibits?
    At this time we do not offer hearing support for our events or exhibits, however, it is something that we are working on along with visual support (e.g.: brailed documents).
  • When you host events, do you host them in only accessible areas?
    Unfortunately, due to the nature of our setup, most of our events are not accessible without going up or down stairs. We have the capability to connect the telescopes to the media devices in the upstairs classroom and the library for research, we are working on translating that into something that can be done during our events.
  • What about visitors that are neurodivergent?
    Some of our neurodivergent visitors may find our observatory overstimulating or too loud, we will do our best to keep the noise level down but recommend bringing ear plugs or headphones if you have them. If you don't, we can help you find a quiet space if it becomes too overwhelming. Our library is often a favorite spot because the lighting is not as bright and we can close the door if needed.