04/17/13 – Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and Gateway Arch Museum of Westward Expansion Host National Park Week Events

St. Louis, Mo., April 17, 2013… From April 20-28, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial at the Gateway Arch and Museum of Westward Expansion will join hundreds of national parks nationwide in celebration of National Park Week.

The fun will begin with a series of Fee Free Days from April 22-26. On those days, the National Park Service will waive its park entrance fee. At Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, a $3 park entrance fee is included in each adult “Journey to the Top” of the Arch ticket and/or movie ticket. During the Fee Free Days, all “Journey to the Top” of the Arch tram passes and/or movie tickets will be discounted by $3.

As always, admission to the Museum of Westward Expansion is free, and throughout National Park Week, area residents are invited to come explore the Museum and take advantage of a range of FREE programs, activities and films – all designed to help children and adults alike learn more about the national parks in their own backyards and those located well beyond their doorsteps.

Just inside the museum, visitors can explore Missouri and Illinois national parks via a table featuring a variety of maps and park brochures, which will be available to take home upon request, while supplies last. A separate kids-themed national parks table will feature a variety of Junior Ranger accessories, including a backpack, ranger hats and a pin vest that children can try on. The table will also include a national park storybook kids can read from and a national park puzzle they can help build. In addition, kids can pick up national park bingo activity sheets at the table that they can fill out as they explore the Museum.

As part of the event, participants will have the chance to use living history artifacts, photos and literature to discover other park sites related to existing exhibits in the Museum of Westward Expansion. Visitors can learn more about the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site in North Dakota though a park ranger presentation on Lewis and Clark, Sacagawea and the use of buffalo body parts. A presentation on sod house construction will highlight the Homestead National Monument of America – Nebraska; park rangers will discuss the Ft. Laramie National Historic Site in Wyoming through a presentation on the connection of the fort to the Oregon Trail; and a presentation on the life of a cowboy will highlight the Grant-Kohrs National Historic Site in Montana. On each day of National Park Week at 3:15 p.m., kids can participate in a guided tour of these special exhibits, and those that do will earn a Civil War Civil Rights trading card for completing the tour.

Throughout the week, attendees can also get their photos taken next to a life-sized image of former president Gerald Ford, who holds the distinction of being the only national park ranger ever to ascend to the presidency. They can also view a variety of films highlighting various national parks in the Museum of Westward Expansion Special Gallery. These include “Mount Rushmore: The Shrine,” a film focused on Mount Rushmore; “Long Knives” and “A Few Men Well Conducted,” which highlight George Rodgers Clark National Historic Park; “Land of Dreams: Homesteading America,” which depicts Homestead National Historic Park of America; and “Nez Perce: Portrait of a People,” which takes viewers on a visual tour of Nez Perce National Historical Park. Films will be shown continuously from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Old Courthouse Theater will also show “A Mighty Mean Fowt Fight: The Battle of Wilson’s Creek” during National Park Week, every half hour on the half hour from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

All week long, kids can earn Civil War Civil Rights Trading Cards in numerous ways, including taking one of the daily 3:15 National Park Museum of Westward Expansion tours; completing a National Park Service bingo sheet; watching a National Park Week film and/or stopping by the Museum Information Desk and signing up to become a Museum of Westward Expansion Ranger.

“Across the country, our national parks have so much to offer and National Park Week is the perfect time to come explore Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Gateway Arch, and Museum of Westward Expansion,” said Ann Honious, Chief, Museum Services and Interpretation, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. “Whether you’ve been here many times or have never been here before, this is a special time to visit because not only will guests get exposure to our many wonderful exhibits, but they will also get to learn about other great parks in our National Park system.”

The Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse are part of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, located on the riverfront in downtown St. Louis. The Old Courthouse is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The Arch’s Museum of Westward Expansion is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The Gateway Arch partners include the National Park Service; its cooperating association, Jefferson National Parks Association; and Metro Business Enterprises, which work together with their downtown neighbors to make the visitor experience even better.

For more information, contact:

Julie Hauser/Pamela Powell, The Hauser Group. 314.436.9090

Ann Honious, National Park Service. 314.655.1614/314.655.1636