READ HOUSE & GARDENS is committed to exceptional customer service and ensuring that every guest has a safe, comfortable, and pleasant visit. While we strive to offer as many options as possible to make your visit comfortable, our historic structure does have its limitations.

Please review the points below prior to visiting. If you have any further questions or would like to request specific accommodations, please feel welcome to reach out to us at [email protected] or (302) 322-8411.


Summer 2021 visitors will experience the Read House through Open-Air tours. Open-Air tours meet on The Strand in front of the building. The sidewalk does not have a ramp in the immediate area around the Read House, though the curb does dip. There is parking on 2nd St, along the Read House garden wall, that includes a ramp to the sidewalk. Guests will then pass through the garden (bricked and relatively even) to reach the Front Gate. If you need any assistance finding parking, or navigating to the front entrance, please call or email the Read House & Gardens.

After the introduction, tour groups will be brought in through the Front Door (8 steps) or through the back entrance (accessible via ramp) to see the house. Please let the tour leader know upon arrival which method is preferred.

Following the indoor portion of the tour (approximately 15 minutes), the group will explore the town. The paths in New Castle are brick and most sidewalks include ramps. Your tour leader is happy to direct the tour along the most navigable paths and is ready to assist you in any way you might need. Additionally, a live audio app is available to help you more comfortably hear your guide from a distance, if needed. Please see Fees and Hours or ask your tour leader for more information regarding the live audio app.

The group entrance to the Read House & Gardens is in the basement of the historic structure. Your group will be asked to take 12 steps down. If anyone in your group is unable to do so please call in advance, so that we can help you access our ground-floor back entrance.

The first floor of the Read House is accessible and comprises the majority of the guided tour. Access to the second-floor rooms on the guided tour and self-guided exhibits requires guests to climb one flight of stairs (approximately 22 steps).

Please note:  There is no elevator. However, the house does have two different staircases: one with a steeper incline and another with a gentler incline. Guests are welcome to use either and should alert the interpreter if one is strongly preferred.  For those who cannot climb stairs, we provide modified ways to experience the house and exhibits from the first floor.


There is no designated parking for the Read House & Gardens. Street parking is available throughout Historic New Castle on a first-come-first-served basis. If you plan to arrive by bus, the bus must unload at the bus loading zone on second street and park in the designated bus lot on 4th and Chestnut streets. Buses are not permitted on the Strand.
Please Note: Many of the historic roads of New Castle contain uneven bricks and cobblestones. These may be challenging to navigate with mobility devices. The closest parking to the Read House is along the Strand.  If drop-off accommodations need to be made, staff are happy to meet visitors at the back gate along 2nd street to provide assistance. Please call in advance if assistance is needed.


Public restrooms are available at the tour entrance in the basement. An accessible restroom is available on the first floor of the house upon request.


Service animals are welcome inside the Read House and in the gardens. Emotional support animals, comfort animals, therapy dogs, and pets are not permitted inside the house but are welcome in the gardens so long as they are leashed and under control at all times. Determination of out-of-control and disruptive behaviors will be at the discretion of museum staff.
As defined by the ADA, a service animal is any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.
Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, assisting a person who is having a seizure, alerting an individual of the presence of allergens, providing physical support with balance and stability to those with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting behaviors, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties.
According to the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In these cases, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective means. Additionally, the animal must be housebroken.
In order to ensure the health and safety of all of our guests, an out-of-control or disruptive service animal may be required to leave the Read House if the handler is unable to re-establish control. If the service animal’s behavior warrants its removal from the museum areas, the service animal’s handler may return to their tour, if tour space is available and time permits. Determination of out-of-control and disruptive behaviors will be up to the discretion of museum staff.
Specific behaviors that could be cause for the removal of a service animal from the Read House include the following:
– The animal is barking or growling
– The animal is displaying aggressive behavior toward other people or animals.
– The animal is displaying disruptive behavior such as running or jumping toward other people or animals
– The animal is not housebroken
– The animal is interfering with collections objects or historic architecture
– The animal is not under control of the handler, including refusing to move from one area to another while on tour
Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered service animals. Emotional support animals, comfort animals, or therapy dogs are not allowed into the Read House as they are not service animals under Title II and Title III of the ADA.
For questions about accessibility at Read House & Gardens or to request specific accommodations ahead of your visit, contact [email protected] or call (302) 322-8411
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