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Various exhibits inside a historic red brick building

Program

Visitor Centers of the Future

Exhibits inside the visitor center at Pullman National Monument
NPF Photo / Dimitre Photography

Introduction

Envisioning a 21st century visitor experience.

The visitor experience has evolved considerably from the early days of the National Park Service. In partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), the National Park Foundation (NPF) and its partners are working to envision a 21st century visitor experience and transform visitor centers across the country, creating engaging spaces where visitors are immersed in the NPS site as soon as they enter the doors, harnessing the most advanced technologies and applying the most up-to-date knowledge.

Beyond the beauty of each national park is the sense of community and belonging that arises as visitors learn more about the natural world and the history of a movement or location. Park visitor centers across the country serve as focal places of connectivity: for learning, experiencing, and engaging. Significant upgrades are needed to support the transformation of our parks to meet the future, from all-new visitor centers and interpretative displays to potentially rethinking what a visitor center should represent in the 21st century. Through ongoing refurbishing and modernizing of park structures, this work ensures that our parks fit the needs of present and future generations.

Program Highlights

A river leads into a mountainous landscape
Katahdin Woods & Waters

NPF donors have pledged a full 42% of the current $19M capital campaign goal to build a spectacular new Welcome Center and elevate the visitor experience at Katahdin Woods and Waters. Active donations are still sought for this important project.

Two historic cannons lie in the foreground. In the background, a white stone memorial
Champion Hill Battlefield

NPF is partnering with NPS and other key partners to reimagine how visitors experience the Champion Hill Battlefield at Vicksburg National Military Park. Investments are transforming the visitor facilities and educational materials, from expanded parking for walking excursions to opportunities for visitors who are driving to safely pause and absorb the battlefield’s rich history.

Sunlight illuminates a landscape of craggy geological formations
Badlands National Park

NPF is investing in a state of art, brand new visitor center at Cedar Pass in Badlands National Park, which is a showcase feature of NPS’s strategic Cedar Pass Development Concept Plan and Environmental Assessment. The new center will be a unique architectural structure blending the built and natural environment. The center will establishing a modern sense of place and community for all visitors.

Sunlight dances across a vast landscape of land and water
Bering Land Bridge

The new visitor center at Bering Land Bridge National Preserve will be a truly unique, interactive space for learning, education, exhibitions, and tribal engagement. In partnering with the Sitnasuak Native Corporation, the new center will bring to life the preservation and interpretation of indigenous artifacts and artworks. From films to art exhibitions to community functions, this new center will be a convening site to foster understanding, inclusivity, and sharing of the beauty and history of the Bering Land Bridge.