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Contact: Karl Cordova, (520) 723-3172
COOLIDGE, AZ -- On Saturday, June 9, 2012, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument invites the public to an Open House from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to celebrate the Grand Opening of a new visitor center theater and the premiere of a new high definition surround sound film, Casa Grande: House of Many Stories. "June 9th is a fee free day at all national park sites to encourage Americans to observe National Get Outdoors Day," said Superintendent Karl Cordova. "We would like to invite everyone to take advantage of the fee free day to visit Casa Grande Ruins National Monument and participate in our special Grand Opening events." The new filmpremieres at 1:00 p.m. in the monument's new theater and will be shown again each hour on the hour until the visitor center closes at 5:00 p.m. In addition to the 22 minute film, visitors will enjoy live music, browsing the visitor center museum and Western National Parks Association (WNPA) store, and sampling complementary native foods and beverages in the visitor center courtyard provided by Ramona Farms and WNPA.
Nagaki Design Build Associates designed and constructed the monument's theater as an addition to the existing visitor center, using innovative rammed earth technology. The structure maintains a thousand year tradition of earthen architecture at the site, beginning with the Casa Grande itself and surrounding structures which were constructed in courses of hand-worked caliche mud. The monument's historic administrative buildings and visitor center are also earthen structures, constructed of adobe in the 1930s.
The new theater will seat approximately 80 people for viewing the monument's film. It will also serve as a venue for special events, performances, and presentations, and will accommodate school group activities. For the first time, the monument will have sufficient theater space to welcome entire bus loads of visitors who come in on private and commercial tours. Several architectural and artistic features of the auditorium are designed to stimulate interest in the art and culture of the ancestral people of the Sonoran Desert and their modern day descendants.
The title of the monument's new film, Casa Grande: House of Many Stories, expresses the multiple perspectives that contribute to an understanding of site's importance. Native Americans who are traditionally associated with the monument consider it a sacred place. Archeologists, other scientists, and preservationists are fascinated by the abundant material culture found at the site and the information it conveys about the sophistication of the ancient people who built it. Great Divide Pictures producer Chris Wheeler conveys all of this with spectacular photography and a narrative derived from interviews with people intimately associated with the site.
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument protects the multi-story 'Great House' and the ruins of other ancient structures built by the people of the Sonoran Desert over 800 years ago. Established as the nation's first archeological reserve in 1892, the Ruins sparked the beginning of the archeological preservation movement in America. The Monument is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Directions and additional information are available on the Monument's website, or you may call (520) 723-3172.