ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – In less than nine months, the grounds around the Gateway Arch will be construction-free for the first time since April 2015.
One of the last pieces to be completed is a museum underneath the Gateway to the West.
Members of the media on Thursday were allowed to walk though the new multi-level museum that is expected to help bring more than 4 million people to the Arch, annually.
It is a $176 million component of the greater CityArchRiver project, whose goal is to improve St. Louis’ cityscape from the Mississippi River through downtown.
The museum will open before Fair St. Louis kicks off in July 2018, according to director of communications at Gateway Arch Park Foundation, Ryan McClure.
He says the Arch was hosting about 3.4 million visitors per year before the renovations began in 2015. He says that number is expected to increase by at least 1 million people, annually, once the near-150,000-square-foot museum is complete.
Admission to the museum will be free, and it will feature six galleries with floor-to-ceiling interactive video screens:
– Colonial St. Louis
– Jefferson’s Vision
– Manifest Destiny
– The Riverfront Era
– New Frontiers
– Building the Gateway Arch
The museum’s entrance is said to help connect the city to the riverfront, as people will walk toward the Mississippi River, then down under the Arch.
The museum will be available for community and private events, with a large mezzanine level overlooking the galleries.
There will also be improvements to the visitor center of the Arch, which is currently open for guests to take the tram up to the top of the Arch. In the tram lobby, all visitors will be able to experience the top of the Arch with live camera feeds from the observation deck being broadcasted down below.
There will also be a 100-foot-wide video wall featuring the construction process of building the Arch.