ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – “Interactive” will be the byword when the newly-remodeled, multi-million dollar Gateway Arch Museum reopens to the public this summer.
During the latest walk-through and preview for reporters Thursday, chief of museum services and interpretation Rhonda Schier pointed out one particular display.
“There will be a variety of interactive computer simulations that will allow visitors to step back in time through their imaginations and go through some real life experiences,” she explained. “In this gallery for instance they’ll have a shopping experience where they’re given a budget, they’re given a list of what they need to have a successful overland journey in their covered wagon.”
The tour highlighted construction on replicas of a French colonial house and the Old Rock House, as well as a model of the riverfront levee as it looked shortly after the historic 1849 fire.
Arch historian Bob Moore likes what he sees in the emerging exhibits.
“Well the old exhibit, I felt, tended to be more of an exhibit that was telling a national story, it was trying to tell everything about westward expansion,” he said. “What we’ve tried to do is tell the story from the perspective of St. Louis, so what you will see throughout the exhibit deals with people moving west but it also deals with what was happening in St. Louis at the time.”
Sarah Melinger, director of development for the Gateway Arch Park Foundation, promised an experience far different from the previous museum.
“I think visitors are going to be really surprised by the scale of the exhibits and how much information is here,” she pointed out. “How they feel like they’re really standing in a moment of history.”
The visitor center under the Arch has been expanded by 46,000 square feet and includes a new entrance better connecting it to downtown St. Louis.
Authorities say that it’s on track for a July 3rd, 2018 public opening.