Community celebrates completion of the CityArchRiver project
CityArchRiver project partners – the National Park Service, Gateway Arch Park Foundation, Bi-State Development, Great Rivers Greenway, Jefferson National Parks Association and the City of St. Louis – today marked the grand opening of the Museum at the Gateway Arch. Several celebratory events, including a ribbon cutting ceremony with local, regional and national dignitaries – including Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke – and a community celebration in the park’s North Gateway marked the completion of the $380-million CityArchRiver project to renovate the national park, the St. Louis Riverfront and Kiener Plaza.
“This is an exciting day for the City of St. Louis and the entire country,” said Mike Ward, superintendent, Gateway Arch National Park. “We are so proud to offer a world-class, urban national park experience to visitors from across the globe and further showcase St. Louis’ important role in the storied history of America.”
“Eight years ago, a design competition provided us a vision for a better-connected City, Arch and River,” said Eric Moraczewski, executive director of the Gateway Arch Park Foundation. “Today, thousands of people came together to celebrate the culmination of this historic project. The CityArchRiver project raised the largest amount of private funding ever to go into a National Park and was a catalyst for approval of the first-ever local tax to provide for a National Park renovation (Proposition P in 2013). It is an unprecedented achievement. Today we celebrate the tremendous accomplishments of our city, our region and our country.”
The ribbon cutting ceremony featured remarks from Superintendent Mike Ward of Gateway Arch National Park; Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke; Mayor Lyda Krewson; St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger; Senator Roy Blunt; Senator Claire McCaskill; Board Chairwoman of the Gateway Arch Park Foundation Carolyn Kindle Betz; and Governor Mike Parson.
St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith served as the master of ceremonies, and St. Louisan Charles Glenn sang the national anthem. The #YourArch photo mosaic was unveiled to the public in a video montage. The Normandy High School marching band led the public to a community celebration in the park’s North Gateway area following the ceremony. Attendees of all ages enjoyed live music from Boogie Chyld, food trucks and drink vendors, free commemorative cookies, photo booth, scavenger hunt throughout the park, caricature artists, face painting, lawn games and much more.
Visitors to the Museum at the Gateway Arch and attendees at the North Gateway community celebration received a limited-edition, commemorative coin marking the special occasion.
The grand opening coincides with the return of one of the nation’s largest Fourth of July celebrations, Fair Saint Louis, to the riverfront July 4, 6 and 7.
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:
o 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.
o 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.
o The Riverfront Era – how St. Louis became one of America’s busiest ports and trade centers in the mid-1800s.
o Manifest Destiny – how the westward migration of the mid-1800s affected American Indians, Mexicans and pioneers themselves.
o 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.
o 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.