Gateway Arch

New Lighting Illuminates the Gateway Arch


New exterior lights to fully illuminate the iconic Gateway Arch at night have been installed at Gateway Arch National Park and are operational as of August 13, 2018, at 10:00 p.m.

“We think everyone will notice this major improvement to lighting the monument,” said Mike Ward, superintendent of Gateway Arch National Park.

The nearly $1.2 million-project, funded by the Gateway Foundation, of St. Louis, is the first major upgrade to the original exterior lighting system, which was installed in 2001 and also was funded by the Gateway Foundation, at a cost of $2.4 million. The original xenon lighting system, designed by Randy Burkett Lighting Design, Inc., of Webster Groves, Mo., had been in place nearly 17 years. Advancements in lighting technologies and the significant degradation of the effectiveness and efficiency of the old lighting system necessitated the updated and replacement of the original lighting fixtures.

Once again, Randy Burkett Lighting Design led the relighting project, which began in July 2018. Forty-four outdated fixtures were replaced by 26 static xenon sky lights with new custom lenses. Although the number of fixtures has been reduced, due to advances in technology, the current fixtures provide greater light coverage of the Arch legs and increased energy efficiency. The Gateway Foundation will continue to pay for the costs of insurance, equipment and electricity associated with the updated Arch lighting system as they have since 2001.

The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage. “Throughout the relighting project, the Gateway Foundation has been grateful for the support of the National Park Service and for the role it has played in the public-private partnership that designed, installed, and will maintain this award-wining lighting display,” said Paul Wagman, a spokesman for the Gateway Foundation.

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, the Museum at the Gateway Arch, the documentary film Monument to the Dream, The Arch Store and The Arch Café, 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. 

Founded in 1986, the Gateway Foundation seeks to enrich life and culture in the St. Louis area by supporting efforts to acquire, create, or improve tangible and durable art and urban design. More information is available at and

Museum at the Gateway Arch Opens at Gateway Arch National Park


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.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Hosts Student Engineering Competition in Honor of Gateway Arch’s 52nd Anniversary


Local students tasked with updating vital components of the Gateway Arch’s tram system

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is celebrating the 52nd anniversary of the completion of the Gateway Arch with an inaugural engineering contest for college students.

JNEM invited three local college engineering schools-Washington University in St. Louis, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Southwestern Illinois College-to participate in the competition. Students have been asked to solve a real-world engineering problem: how to modernize the trams’ electrical and mechanical systems.

“The Arch’s tram system is one of the most unique methods of transportation in the world,” says Frank Mares, Deputy Superintendent, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. “No other elevator system is like it, and there is no precedent when it comes to improving it. We hope this competition inspires our local college students to think outside the box, and use their engineering knowledge and their imagination to find a workable solution. We are eager to see their approach as they demonstrate their multifaceted ways of thinking and showcase their problem-solving skills.”

Students recently took a behind-the-scenes tour of the popular Journey to the Top tram ride to research the inner workings of the current system. The Park Service also provided students with photos and drawings of the project. Each school’s team will submit their proposal by October 20. JNEM’s tram mechanics staff will review the proposals and determine the winner.

Students will present their proposals at a special banquet on the Arch’s 52nd anniversary of its completion, Saturday, October 28. The winner will be announced and presented the Dick Bowser Trophy, named after the designer of the Arch’s tram system and made from recycled tram parts. The Gateway Arch’s builders will also be in attendance and recognized at the banquet, in celebration of the 52nd anniversary of the Arch’s completion.

If the winning design indeed works, the Arch tram mechanical staff intend to implement it.

WHAT: Gateway Arch Engineering Competition Awards Banquet
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 28; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Award will be given out closer to end of the event.)
WHERE: Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch; 2 South Fourth Street, St. Louis, MO 63102
INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES: Student competitors, faculty coaches, Gateway Arch builders
MEDIA NOTE: The banquet is a private event and not open to the public. Media are invited to attend. Please contact Park Ranger Tony Gilpin at 618-792-6145 to alert him of your attendance.