Accessibility Guide for your visit to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
In the north of Spain, you find the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, one of the largest museums in Spain. Besides Bilbao, you will also find a Guggenheim museum in New York and in Venice. And currently, the fourth Guggenheim museum is in development in Abu Dhabi. Guggenheim is an absolute must-see when you have planned a trip to Bilbao, and you are passionate about modern artworks and architecture. Inside the museum, you find more than 11.000 square meters with contemporary art and works by renowned artists such as Picasso. In this blog you read everything about the musuem and its accessibility.
Frank Gehry, an American architect, designed the titanium-clad building of the Guggenheim. After the construction, that took about four years, Guggenheim opened its doors in 1997. The architectural style that Frank Gehry used, is a modern style called deconstructivism. The whole site is over 32,500 sqm, and the museum is built with many geometric shapes.
There are a variety of essentials inside and around the museum. Outside you can admire some major artworks for free. For example, the building is a magnificent artwork itself. In front of the main entrance, you see ‘Puppy,’ a 12-meter-high puppy covered with 70.000 colored flowers. This work of art is created by the American artist Jeff Koons. Also, there is another piece from Jeff Koons near the museum, namely, the tulips. It is a high chromium stainless bouquet with multicolored balloon flowers.
Furthermore, you can find the famous giant spider, called Maman, on the riverside of the museum. Maman was created by Louise Bourgeois and is almost nine meters tall. The Tall Tree & The Eye by Anish Kapoor is an artwork that consists of 73 reflective balls, anchored around three axes. The mirrored surfaces of the balls reflect and create a deliquesce form and space.
Besides admiring the beautiful artwork around the museum, the inside holds much more. The museum has 20 galleries with many different pieces from numerous artists.
Artworks Permanent Exhibition
First, ‘Installation for Bilbao’ by Jenny Holzer. This is a row of nine vertial L.E.D. display boards, each being 12 meters long, with various poems in English, Spanish, and Basque. Such as ‘My mother says, I say your name and I save your clothes. ‘
Furthermore, you can see ‘The matter of Time’ by Richard Serra. The matter of Time is a large sculptural installation that allows you to perceive art in different ways. From the simplicity of a double round to complexity of a spiral.
When you walk through and around the hall, you see that the gallery creates chambers with different, unexpected proportions: wide, narrow, long, compressed, high, and low. The individual works are creating an unforgettable, dizzying feeling of space in motion.
The Matter of Time includes a progression in Time – meaning that there are several ways of experiencing the concept of time in the building. First, the time it takes for you to walk through the museum from the beginning to the end. And the time it takes for you to experience the pieces of art throughout the hall.
The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao has made a great effort to be a museum for everyone. The Guggenheim museum is 100% accessible. They made sure that all services and activities are or can be adjusted to the needs and requirements of their disabled visitors.
The main entrance has steps. Therefore, there is a separate entry, especially for wheelchair users, which you can find on the other side of the museum. This entrance has heavy doors equipped with buttons inside- and outside that open the door automatically. When you are inside, you see widened wheelchair-accessible elevators. Moreover, the floor in the entire museum is flat and smooth. Also, all restrooms in the museum have individual wheelchair-accessible toilets.
Furthermore, there are wheelchairs available for those who require them. You have to ask one of the staff members in the coatroom, and they will assist you where needed. The museum has two international restaurants and a bar which are all wheelchair accessible. The international restaurants are located inside the museum, and the bar is accessible from the square.
Notice: It is suggested to wear layered clothing because it sometimes happens that the temperature inside the museum is quite cold.
In the museum are different galleries and rooms with various kind of events and exhibitions.
First, Guggenheim has an art corner. This area has a free access area to read, draw, play with magnets, build with blocks, and more. Moreover, in the museum are Education Rooms, where you can participate in workshops and creative activities based on the exhibitions, the Museum Collection, or architecture. And, there is a library for reading, storytelling, painting, dressing up, dancing and more. In the museum, you also find a Film and Video gallery. In this space, you can admire art in the form of video, video installations, and the moving image.
Lastly, there are always several temporary exhibitions in the museum. During our visit last September, we admired ‘the Nameless Spectacle’ but this exhibition is already finished. However, there is a new exhibition program for the coming months. From October 2, 2019, to January 19, 2020, there is the exhibition of Thomas Struth. And from October 28, 2019, to February 9, 2020, ‘The fourth dimension’ from Jesús Rafael Soto. Moreover, from January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2019, you can admire the ‘Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao collection.’ Click here for more information about the temporary exhibitions in Bilbao.
How to get there
The museum is open from Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and located in the city center of Bilbao, next to the Nervión river. You can take the tram. The tram of Bilbao is called the EuskoTren. Guggenheim museum has its own tram station called ‘Guggenheim.’ The tram in Bilbao is a universal public transport and is adapted for wheelchairs. In every tram, there are two spaces reserved for people with limited mobility issues. If you prefer, we can also book an adapted taxi for you. Check our contact page and ask for more information.
Once you arrive at the tram station, it is less than a five-minute (st)roll from the tram station to the museum. Cross the tram tracks and walk along Paseo de la Ría until you arrive at the Guggenheim. Furthermore, you can buy your tickets from the ticket machines at the tram station and the price of a standard ticket is €1,50.
The address of the museum is Abandoibarra Etorbidea 2, 48009 Bilbao, Bizkaia.
People with disabilities and their companions have priority access to the museum. So, they do not need to purchase admission in advance. Wheelchair users receive a discount rate by showing proof of identity and disability at the Admission desk. The tickets are between €6, – and €7,50. Admission for a companion is free.