After eight years of planning and consultation, Bandelier received Congressional funding in 2009 for the line-item construction rehabilitation of the National Historic Landmark visitor center. This project will address the maintenance, accessibility, and safety issues in the Bandelier visitor center.
This is the only public facility at Bandelier and it serves as the primary entry and exit point for 80% of all park visitors (230,000 people). Located in Frijoles Canyon, with the only parking area for accessing the park's primary visitor use area, this National Historic Landmark building contains restrooms, a theater, a bookstore, an information
desk, and interpretive exhibits.
“The museum will close in mid-August followed by the rest of the building soon after,” said park Superintendent Jason Lott. “We will put a temporary trailer and restrooms in the picnic area during the rehabilitation and route people onto the Main Loop Trail from there. Nothing in the park will be closed except for the visitor center and museum. We expect the project to last for at least 9 months. We will reopen the building as soon as the rehabilitation is complete and the new exhibits have been installed.” This building is the focal point for the National Historic Landmark District which contains the largest number of high integrity CCC structures, furniture and tinware fixtures in the National Park System. The CCC played a very significant role in New Mexico - building almost the entire road and dam infrastructure for the state. Very few of the most significant CCC resources, such as this District, remain in New Mexico today. This project will improve the protection of this important resource and will improve the visitor experience within it. To assure that our efforts maximize the protection of this building, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has been involved in all stages of planning and design.
Improving this facility will encourage increased use by tour, school, and community groups. The renovation of the building is only one part of this project. New exhibits are being designed to tell the primary park stories and provide access to the museum collection. Public entrance fees, generated through the Fee Program, will be used to build the new exhibits. A new park film is also in the making with combined funding from park partners and the Park Pass Program. All of these elements have been integrated together to create a building that will best serve the park visitors and will provide outstanding opportunities for understanding and appreciating park resources and stories.
A Pueblo consultation committee worked for 6 years to design and review every element of the new exhibits. We truly appreciate the time and effort contributed by Lee Suina from Cochiti Pueblo, Councilman Arden Kucate from Zuni Pueblo, Jason Garcia from Santa Clara Pueblo, and Gary Roybal and Myron Gonzales from San Ildefonso Pueblo, in addition to the Council members from each of these Pueblos. Many original Pueblo pieces were commissioned to integrate Pueblo histories, languages, and perspectives throughout the exhibits. “We are very excited about this project because it will truly enhance every park visitors experience in Frijoles Canyon and because it is a wonderful investment into our historic visitor center,” said Chief of Interpretation, Lynne Dominy. “The film combined with the exhibits will help everyone understand the complexity, beauty and sacredness of this special place.”