In a unique arrangement, we provide for the ongoing maintenance and innovation of the Museum at the Gateway Arch's exhibits through a contract with Pacific Studio, the company that fabricated and installed the exhibits in 2018. Pacific Studio is a leading innovator in museum fabrication and has worked with at least 22 other NPS sites across the country, but this is its first ongoing, regular maintenance agreement with a national park, made possible by the Foundation and its supporters. This is one of many Foundation projects that is setting a model for park conservancies across the country.
In 2022, approximately 40 Museum projects were completed, which included maintaining the Creole House's roof, improving the oral history exhibit, repairing the interactive tram car, adjusting the access doors at the Keystone exhibit display, refreshing the scent jars, replacing and fortifying a pirogue paddle, and much more. Additionally, the Foundation funded remote Wi-Fi and IT support.
The Foundation also funds smaller maintenance needs at the Museum conducted by local personnel as they arise from day to day.
Together with our partners, the Foundation is supporting the ongoing major renovations to the historic Old Courthouse, which will be only the second significant renovation to the facility since it was built between 1839 and 1862. This is the final component of the $380 million CityArchRiver project – the largest public-private partnership in the history of the National Park Service – spearheaded by the Foundation.
In addition to funding about $6 million of the $27.5 million project through privately-raised donations, the Foundation applied for and received a $2.7 million grant from the Missouri Department of Economic Development for the renovation.
The renovations will include a complete reimagining of the building’s exhibits, with a renewed focus on Dred and Harriet Scott’s legacy and relevancy today, along with the hundreds of other enslaved African Americans who sued for their freedom here. Exhibit expansions also will include an exploration of Black life in St. Louis; a spotlight on the importance of courts in our society and legal structure; and an in-depth look at the architectural features of the building and the accompanying spirit of innovation that led to them.
Other enhancements will include the installation of an elevator to ensure accessibility for all visitors, structural updates, a new fire suppression system, and renovated ceilings and floorings.
To-date as part of this project, wheelchair ramps have been installed outside the Old Courthouse, and the Foundation secured a lease at the Old Post Office to be the new home of the collections and archives from the Old Courthouse. These collections are used in ongoing research by scholars and staff and are the basis of the historic site’s interpretative programming and Museum exhibits.
The exhibit expansions are also underway, including reviews by the Universal Design Group to ensure accessibility for all future users.
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