On Tuesday, July 3, 2018 at 10 a.m., Gateway Arch National Park will celebrate the completion of the $380-million project to renovate the national park, the St. Louis Riverfront and Kiener Plaza with a grand opening celebration and public reveal of the Museum at the Gateway Arch.
The National Park Service, Gateway Arch Park Foundation, Bi-State Development, Great Rivers Greenway, Jefferson National Parks Association, the City of St. Louis and MoDOT have collaborated on the renovations. All grand opening events are free and open to the public.
“This is a beautiful start to the next chapter of the Gateway Arch National Park story,” says Mike Ward, superintendent. “This re-imagined experience – the expanded visitor center and its new museum exhibit galleries, revitalized park grounds, St. Louis Riverfront and Kiener Plaza – tell the stories of westward expansion, innovation and architectural achievement in new ways, and physically connect downtown St. Louis to the Arch and riverfront for the first time. It’s unlike anything visitors have seen before, and we are so grateful to all who helped bring it to life.”
“The opening of the new Gateway Arch National Park experience is an incredible milestone for so many people – from St. Louisans who voted to help support the project renovations with the project’s private donors, to the park’s millions of annual visitors,” says Eric Moraczewski, executive director of the Gateway Arch Park Foundation. “We are excited to present the new experiences within the Museum and Gateway Arch National Park as a destination that people will visit, enjoy and return to for decades to come.”
The July 3rd grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony, emceed by St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, will feature remarks from local, regional and national dignitaries, and the public unveiling of the #YourArch photo montage. The grand opening coincides with the return of one of the nation’s largest Fourth of July celebrations, Fair Saint Louis, to the riverfront and
fills the July 4th holiday week with ongoing events that highlight the new amenities of the urban national park:
- Expanded Luther Ely Smith Square – the park over the highway that leads visitors from the Old Courthouse to the new West Entrance to the Arch visitor center and museum.
- The North Gateway (near the Eads Bridge), which can be used for community events and performances.
- More than five miles of bike and walking paths.
- A 46,000 square-foot multi-level addition to the Arch visitor center and museum.
In addition to the July 3rd celebration, on Thursday, July 5, the Gateway Arch Park Foundation will host a special “Summer Social” event in Kiener Plaza. Information about all of the grand opening events can be found at www.archpark.org/grandopening.
About the New Museum at the Gateway Arch The Museum at the Gateway Arch features interactive and engaging exhibits that focus on St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion of the United States, completely replacing the original museum that opened in 1976. Features of the new museum include:
Six themed exhibit galleries:
- Colonial St. Louis – how St. Louis became a prosperous trading village rooted in French culture and governed by the Spanish, until the Louisiana Purchase transferred the territory to the United States.
- Jefferson’s Vision – how President Thomas Jefferson furthered the westward expansion of the U.S. by sending expeditions to lay claim to territory, search for trading partners and locate natural resources for the young nation.
- The Riverfront Era – how St. Louis became one of America’s busiest ports and trade centers in the mid-1800s.
- Manifest Destiny – how the westward migration of the mid-1800s affected American Indians, Mexicans and pioneers themselves.
- New Frontiers – how the industrialization of America hastened American settlement of the West and caused American Indians to lose all or part of their homelands.
- Building the Gateway Arch – how the great American monument that commemorates westward expansion was designed and built.
- Accessible exhibits guided by Universal Design principles through consultation with the CityArchRiver Universal Design Group representing the St. Louis disability community.
- On the visitor center mezzanine level, a terrazzo floor map shows the United States with historic trails allowing visitors to trace pioneers’ journeys to the West.
- The new 100 ft.-wide Video Wall in the tram lobby shows the building of the Gateway Arch and scenes of American westward expansion.
- The Keystone Exhibit in the tram lobby allows all visitors to experience the top of the Arch through live webcam feeds from the observation deck.
The schedule of grand opening events and other details are available at archpark.org/grandopening.
About Gateway Arch National Park The Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse are part of Gateway Arch National Park, located on the riverfront in downtown St. Louis. The Gateway Arch, which features the Tram Ride to the Top and the documentary film Monument to the Dream, is open daily during the winter from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. The Old Courthouse, which features westward expansion exhibits, returns to normal hours of operation July 1, and is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The park is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The Old Courthouse is located at 11 North Fourth Street, St. Louis, MO 63102. Most programs are FREE of charge and open to the public. Programs and events at the park are made possible by the generous support from our cooperating association, Jefferson National Parks Association, and Bi-State Development. To purchase Arch tickets, go online to www.gatewayarch.com, call 877-982-1410, or visit the Arch Ticketing & Visitor Center at the Old Courthouse. NOTE: The Arch’s museum is currently closed for renovations and is scheduled to open July 3, 2018.
About Gateway Arch Park Foundation: The Gateway Arch Park Foundation is a non-profit organization with a mission to ensure that the Gateway Arch, its grounds, neighboring public space, and attractions are a vital, active, welcoming, well-supported resource to the community and nation for generations to come. The Foundation is part of an alliance that helps meet this mission, which includes the National Park Service, Bi-State Development, Great Rivers Greenway, Jefferson National Parks Association and the City of St. Louis. For more information, visit www.ArchPark.org.