The newly opened Museum at the Gateway Arch is a core component of the $380 million scheme which has included 11 acres of new park space and Keiner Plaza. The museum expansion covers an area of some 46, 000 square-feet with new exhibits designed by hsd.
The Museum at the Gateway Arch, part of the National Park Service’s Gateway Arch National Park (formerly known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial), replaces the original museum which opened in 1976, and provides an exciting, interactive and reflective look into the Westward Expansion of the United States and the important role played by St. Louis.
Visitors engage in thematic areas that transport them from the French Colonial period in the 1700’s all the way to the construction of the Gateway Arch in the 1960’s. They also meet the people who made the epic journey West allowing them to explore their hopes, joy and heartache.
There are six different themed galleries: Colonial St. Louis, Jefferson’s Vision, Manifest Destiny, The Riverfront Era, New Frontiers, and Building the Gateway Arch which explore topics that include nation building and identity, immigration and migration, democracy and civil rights, and relationships and vision.
In the tram lobby, where visitors wait to go up the Gateway Arch, a 100-foot-wide media wall shows a dynamic video installation of the building of the Arch and scenes of American history and innovation.
As part of the project hsd consulted extensively with the project-specific St Louis Universal Design Group. This advisory group comprised of local disability rights advocates with a wide range of disabilities, from hearing loss to physical and mental health needs. The group reviewed and commented on all exhibit designs and prototypes to ensure the museum was fully accessible and enjoyable for everyone.
Throughout the displays, thought has gone into providing wheelchair front access and turning radii, low level navigation lighting, tactile models and replicas, readable typography and graphic design, content rich digital platforms, accessible touchscreens, soundscapes and audio descriptions to apply universal design principles in practice.