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Museum of Westward Expansion

11 N 4th Street
St Louis, Missouri

Phone: 314-425-5097 -
TTY: 314-425-4467

Statement of Purpose:

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial consists of the Gateway Arch, the Museum of Westward Expansion, and St. Louis' Old Courthouse. During a nationwide competition in 1947-48, architect Eero Saarinen's inspired design for a 630-foot stainless steel arch was chosen as a perfect monument to the spirit of the western pioneers. Construction of the Arch began in 1963 and was completed on October 28, 1965, for a total cost of less than $15 million. The Arch has foundations sunk 60 feet into the ground, and is built to withstand earthquakes and high winds. It sways up to one inch in a 20 mph wind, and is built to sway up to 18 inches. Fees are charged to ride the unique tram system to the top. The Museum of Westward Expansion, located below the Arch, is as large as a football field and contains an extensive collection of artifacts, mounted animal specimens, an authentic American Indian tipi, and an overview of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Located just two blocks west of the Arch, the Old Courthouse is one of the oldest standing buildings in St. Louis, begun in 1839. It was here that the first two trials of Dred Scott for his freedom were held in 1847 and 1850. Today, the building houses a museum charting the history of the city of St. Louis and restored courtrooms.


A typical visit includes a tram ride to the top of the Arch for a panoramic view of the St. Louis area; a screening of the film "Monument to the Dream" which details the construction of the Arch; participation in the new 70mm World Odyssey wide-screen theater, which some films on a four-story tall screen; and a visit to the Museum of Westward Expansion. Just two blocks west of the Arch, the Old Courthouse contains restored courtrooms, information on the Dred Scott case, and a museum charting the history of the city of St. Louis.



African-American Heritage Month is scheduled throughout the month of February focuses on the role of African-Americans in the history of St. Louis and the western frontier. Musicians, speakers, educational programs, special exhibits and the recreated 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers are featured.

St. Louis Storytelling Festival. Professional storytellers from across the country weave their tales at the Arch, Old Courthouse, and several other St. Louis locations, April 31 - May 2. For further information, call the Continuing Education Department at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, (314) 553-5911.

The Old Courthouse springs to life in patriotic colors for the annual Victorian July 4th celebration, June 14-July 14. The program includes extensive decorations, and over the July 4 weekend, music, speeches and interpreters in period clothing.

A Victorian Christmas is celebrated throughout the month of December at the Old Courthouse. Period decorations and Christmas trees, plus a regular program of concerts, bring a special holiday flair to downtown St. Louis.

Holidays Around the World is sponsored by the National Park Service and the International Folklore Federation, and features an exhibit of Christmas trees and displays spotlighting the traditions of various cultures in the Gateway Arch complex.

The Old Courthouse is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years day. Admission is free.

The Gateway Arch and Museum of Westward Expansion are open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Memorial day through Labor day (summer hours), and 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. the remainder of the year (winter hours); closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years day.

The entrance fee is $2.00 per person, and no more than $4.00 per family. Separate fees are charged for tickets to see films and for the tram ride to the top of the Arch on a per-event basis. Free tours are given on a regular schedule, with times and subjects of tours posted each day at the entrance to the museum and the Old Courthouse. Tours usually last 45 minutes.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is located in the heart of downtown St. Louis on the Mississippi River. Interstate Routes 44, 55, 64, and 70 converge near the park. Parking is available in the Arch Parking Garage on the north end of the park grounds on Washington Street, or at privately run surface lots and garages nearby. The Arch Parking Garage has a seven foot height restriction. A passenger drop-off area is available for visitors with mobility impairments near the Old Cathedral on Memorial Drive.


Welcome To Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

Key Personnel:

Gary W. Easton, Superintendent

Thank you for your visit.

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