ST. LOUIS — Major changes and improvements are underway for the Gateway Arch on the Mississippi River in downtown St. Louis in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the iconic arch Oct. 28.
The $380 million CityArchRiver 2015 project includes a entirely new museum to replace the Museum of Westward Expansion and major landscaping that ties the arch’s grounds with downtown.
The museum is closed while the new museum, scheduled to open in 2017, is being built, although the Gateway Arch will remain open and continue to offer trips to its top. However, due to the limited capacity of the entire Gateway Arch facility, a timed ticket is required to enter the arch.
The Old Courthouse is serving as the ticketing and visitor center for the Gateway Arch during construction.
The new interactive museum exhibits will focus on six thematic areas, including colonial St. Louis, Jefferson’s vision, the St. Louis Riverfront, Manifest Destiny, new frontiers, and the design and construction of the Gateway Arch.
The arch and museum will also receive a new westward-facing entrance. During construction, the Old Courthouse will host new temporary exhibit galleries developed from those in the Museum of Westward Expansion.
CityArchRiver 2015, a public-private partnership, will create a seamless park experience from the city to the Mississippi River, including a Park Over the Highway, a grass and tree-covered bridge over Interstate 44 and 7.5 new acres of green space replacing a parking garage between the arch grounds and Laclede’s Landing.
When the entire project is finished, visitors will be able to walk through renovated parks from Kiener Plaza just west of the Old Courthouse all the way to the Mississippi.