Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – About a year from now they’ll be taking the wraps off the new visitor museum beneath the Gateway Arch.

“We’re looking at the summer of 2018 at this point,” Superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, National Park Service, Mike Ward says. “We’re not quite sure exactly when that’s going to be. We’ve been moving forward but we’ve run into some issues so that’s going to take us into late spring, early summer.”

One of those issues involved the recent flooding along the Mississippi River when one of the load zones was washed out. However, Ward says no significant delays or damage resulted from that.

The $380 million CityArchRiver project is a public-private partnership between the National Park Service, Great Rivers Greenway, Gateway Arch Park Foundation (formerly CityArchRiver Foundation), Bi-State Development, and Jefferson National Park Association.

Components of the project that have already been completed include Luther Ely Smith Square (2015), the Riverfront (2016), Kiener Plaza (2017), and most landscaping and pathways on the Arch park grounds.

The Arch remains open and visitors can still take the Journey to the Top, visit the new Arch store, or view the “Monument to the Dream” movie.

“We are excited to be one step closer to completing this incredible new experience for visitors at the Gateway Arch,” Ward says. “While we had hoped that the project would be completed by the end of this year, it is most important that the project is completed in the right way. When we re-open the museum next summer, we are confident people will see that the wait was worth it.”

The new visitor center at the Arch will be expanded by 46,000 square feet and include more space for educational opportunities and private events.

The new museum under the Arch will include all new interactive, engaging exhibits that tell the story of America’s westward expansion and the important role that St. Louis played.

“I think the one that I like best is actually the section called ‘Going Westward’ when you first walk down into the visitor’s center,” Ward tells KMOX News. “There will be some very large visual screens there and I don’t want to give it all away, but it’s really going to be something.”

Other sections of the new museum will be themed Jefferson’s Vision, Riverfront Era, New Frontiers, Manifest Destiny, Colonial St. Louis and Building the Arch.

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