Accessibility

Snow covers the grounds of Little Rock Central High School on a winter day.
Snow covers the grounds at Little Rock Central High School on a winter day.

NPS Photo

Little Rock Central High School NHS is committed to a continuing effort to improve the accessibility of our programming and facilities. If you have accessibility-related questions, concerns, suggestions or want to submit an accommodation request, please contact Brian Schwieger, Accessibility Coordinator, by email {brian_schwieger@nps.gov (with Accessibility in the subject line)} or by phone at (501) 396-3020.


Little Rock Central High School

Note: Little Rock Central High School is an operating 9th – 12th grade facility and is not open to the public. Visitors are permitted to walk on the east (front) side of the school grounds around the main entrance and main staircases, the reflecting pool and plaza, the Little Rock Nine benches, and the United statue. Please use the sidewalks around the school and on school grounds – stay off the grass and other landscaped areas.

  • Entrances – Not open to the public.
  • Information on Central High School is available in printed format – ask at the visitor center information desk for available materials.
  • Parking - Two accessible parking spaces are available immediately adjacent to the east entrance of the visitor center; one accessible parking space is available in the parking lot immediately east and adjacent to the Magnolia Mobil Gas Station. Temporary parking immediately adjacent to the school is not recommended for visitors – leave open for parents, teachers, Little Rock School District employees, etc.
  • No Pay Phone
  • Routes – Central High School is bounded by a sidewalk accessible from both S. Park Street and W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive. Use the sidewalks exiting from either parking lot (Visitor Center or Magnolia Mobil Station) and the crosswalks to reach Central High School on the southwest corner of S Park/W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive.
  • Seating – Visitors may sit on the Little Rock Nine benches which ring the reflecting pool below the main entrance to Central High School. An accessible path from the sidewalk in front of Central High is available on the south side of the reflecting pool.
  • Service animal - In October 2018, the National Park Service (NPS) issued a policy memorandum regarding the use of service animals by persons with disabilities in national parks. The revised policy aligns the NPS policy with the standards established by the Department of Justice and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Only dogs are classified as service animals, and they must perform a specific task that assists a person with a disability. Emotional support or comfort animals are not service animals. Service animals are allowed inside Central High School.
  • Water – Please use the water fountains (wheelchair accessible) in the visitor center.
  • A Wheelchair is available on request at the visitor center information desk for use throughout the National Historic Site including use
 
Exterior view of Magnolia Mobil Gas Station, a white stucco 1920s building with a terracotta roof.
The Magnolia Mobil Station was built in the 1920s by the Magnolia Petroleum Company, one of several regional oil companies owned by the Mobil Oil Corporation.

NPS Photo

Magnolia Mobil Gas Station

  • Entrance – Not open to the public.

  • Exhibits/Media – A panel on the Magnolia Mobil Gas Station is located on the front window which faces the visitor center.

  • Information on the Magnolia Mobil Gas Station is available in printed format – ask at the visitor center information desk for available materials.

  • Parking - Two accessible parking spaces are available immediately adjacent to the east entrance of the visitor center; one accessible parking space is available in the parking lot immediately east and adjacent to the Magnolia Mobil Gas Station. Temporary parking immediately adjacent to the school is not recommended for visitors – leave open for parents, teachers, Little Rock School District employees, etc.

  • No Pay Phone

  • Routes – The Magnolia Mobil Gas Station is adjacent to a parking lot on the east side of the building and connected by a sidewalk. The parking lot driveway has a slight downhill slope as it connects to the sidewalk leading to the building. The visitor center and accompanying parking lot are across W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates; a crosswalk on the southwest corner of the visitor center connects you to the Magnolia Mobil Gas Station.

  • Seating – No seating available.
  • Service animal - In October 2018, the National Park Service (NPS) issued a policy memorandum regarding the use of service animals by persons with disabilities in national parks. The revised policy aligns the NPS policy with the standards established by the Department of Justice and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Only dogs are classified as service animals, and they must perform a specific task that assists a person with a disability. Emotional support or comfort animals are not service animals. Service animals are allowed inside the Commemorative Garden.
  • Water – Please use the water fountains (wheelchair accessible) in the visitor center.

  • A Wheelchair is available on request at the visitor center information desk for use throughout the National Historic Site.

 
Commemorative Garden arches as seen at dusk
Commemorative Garden as seen at dusk

NPS Photo

Commemorative Garden

  • Entrances – The east entrance is adjacent to S. Park Street and has a paved sidewalk/ramp with a slight uphill incline. The south entrance is adjacent to W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive and has a paved sidewalk/ramp with a slight uphill incline. The curved, paved pathway that runs through the garden and past the benches and archways is connected to both the east and south entrance and has slight uphill and downhill inclines.

  • Exhibits - The monumental sculptural arches are structured to be accessible from a wheelchair. Each of the arches have photographic panels on the inside for viewing. A poem entitled “The Spirit of Central High” is etched into the concrete plaza between the two arches.

  • Information on the Commemorative Garden is available in printed format – ask at the visitor center information desk for available materials.

  • Parking - Two accessible parking spaces are available immediately adjacent to the east entrance of the visitor center; the visitor center parking lot is across S. Park Street from the Commemorative Garden. One accessible parking space is available in the parking lot immediately east and adjacent to the Magnolia Mobil Gas Station; the Magnolia Mobil Gas Station parking lot is southeast of the Commemorative Garden across both S. Park and W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive. Temporary parking immediately adjacent to the school is not recommended for visitors – leave open for parents, teachers, Little Rock School District employees, etc. There is no parking immediately adjacent to the Commemorative Garden.

  • No Pay Phone

  • Restrooms - The women's and men's restrooms inside the visitor center are both wheelchair accessible.

  • Routes - A paved sidewalk runs around the south and east side of the Commemorative Garden with paved, ramped entrances leading into and through the Garden from either side. The Commemorative Garden can be accessed by crosswalks from both the visitor center and Central High School. The Commemorative Garden has outdoor lighting and is open to the public daily from 7:00 a.m. CST/CDT until sunset.

  • Seating – Nine benches are available throughout the Commemorative Garden for visitor use.

  • Service animal - In October 2018, the National Park Service (NPS) issued a policy memorandum regarding the use of service animals by persons with disabilities in national parks. The revised policy aligns the NPS policy with the standards established by the Department of Justice and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Only dogs are classified as service animals, and they must perform a specific task that assists a person with a disability. Emotional support or comfort animals are not service animals. Service animals are allowed inside the Commemorative Garden.

  • Water – Please use the water fountains (wheelchair accessible) in the visitor center.

  • A Wheelchair is available on request at the visitor center information desk for use throughout the National Historic Site.

 
Ranger programs and guided tours are designed to include needed accessibility accommodations; please inquire when booking a tour or before attending a scheduled program.
Ranger programs and guided tours are designed to include needed accessibility accommodations; please inquire when booking a tour or before attending a scheduled program.

NPS Photo

Ranger Programs/Guided Tours

  • Entrances – Nearly all programs begin or take place entirely inside the visitor center. The visitor center is equipped with automated doors/accessible entrances at both the east and west entrances. The visitor center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. CST/CDT to 4:30 p.m. CST/CDT and is closed on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Guided tours that enter Central High School have the option to use the school’s accessible entrance and the elevator inside the school if needed. Please let park staff know if you will need these accommodations when booking your tour in advance as Central High School security may need to provide alternate routes through the school.
  • Information on the National Historic Site is available in printed format – ask at the visitor center information desk for available materials.
  • American Sign Language interpretation – upon advanced request, we will work to provide this visitor service. Please refer the email address or phone number at the top of the page to initiate park contact for this service.
  • Parking - Two accessible parking spaces are available immediately adjacent to the east entrance of the visitor center.
  • No Pay Phone
  • Restrooms - The women's and men's restroom inside the visitor center are both wheelchair accessible. Park staff do not have the option to allow use of Central High School’s restroom facilities.
  • Routes - Paved from parking lot on east side of visitor center with slight uphill inclined ramp; west outdoor plaza is paved and connects to west entrance of visitor center. A paved sidewalk runs around the perimeter of the visitor center and can be accessed from the east parking lot and all four corners of the visitor center grounds. For routes to guided tours, see Little Rock Central High School.
  • Seating - Benches or chairs are available throughout the visitor center and on the west outdoor plaza adjacent to the visitor center. Typically, guided tours have seating access for portions of the tour inside the school auditorium, but this can change depending on the school’s schedule and use of their own facilities.
  • Service animal - In October 2018, the National Park Service (NPS) issued a policy memorandum regarding the use of service animals by persons with disabilities in national parks. The revised policy aligns the NPS policy with the standards established by the Department of Justice and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Only dogs are classified as service animals, and they must perform a specific task that assists a person with a disability. Emotional support or comfort animals are not service animals. Service animals are allowed inside the visitor center and Little Rock Central High School guided tours.
  • Tactile objects: All ranger programs strive to engage multiple senses and learning styles, and often include audio components and/or tactile objects.
  • Water - Water fountains inside the visitor center are wheelchair accessible. Park staff cannot guarantee use of Central High School’s water fountains.
  • A Wheelchair is available on request at the visitor center information desk for use throughout the National Historic Site as needed for ranger programs or guided tours.
 
The Elizabeth Eckford Bus Bench is a wood and concrete replica of the original structure from the 1957 desegregation crisis.
The Elizabeth Eckford Bus Bench is a replica in the location where the first attempt at entering Central High School ended for this fifteen-year old student on September 4, 1957.

NPS Photo

Elizabeth Eckford Bus Bench

  • Entrances - The Elizabeth Eckford Bus Bench is located on the northeast corner of S. Park and 16th Streets, directly adjacent to Bullock Temple CME Church and due east from the southeast boundary of Central High School. The bench sits off the sidewalk in a flat concrete plaza with a semicircular path around the back of the bench.

  • Exhibits/Media -

    • Plaques and plants ring the outside semicircular path behind the bench and honor those who helped with the bench project.
    • The bench and the semicircular plaza are structured to be accessible from a wheelchair.
  • Information on the Elizabeth Eckford Bus Bench is available at the visitor center information desk.
  • Parking - Two accessible parking spaces are available immediately adjacent to the east entrance of the visitor center; the visitor center parking lot is across S. Park Street from the Commemorative Garden. One accessible parking space is available in the parking lot immediately east and adjacent to the Magnolia Mobil Gas Station; the Magnolia Mobil Gas Station parking lot is southeast of the Commemorative Garden across both S. Park and W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive. Temporary parking immediately adjacent to the school is not recommended for visitors – leave open for parents, teachers, Little Rock School District employees, etc. There is limited parking on 16th Street immediately adjacent to the Elizabeth Eckford Bus Bench.
  • No Pay Phone
  • Restrooms - The women's and men's restroom inside the visitor center are both wheelchair accessible.
  • Routes – From the visitor center, cross S. Park Street at the southwest corner crosswalk of the visitor center and then cross W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive at the crosswalk. You will then be at the northeast corner of Central High School. Proceed south on the paved sidewalk past the front of Central High School until you reach 16th Street. Head east across the crosswalk at S. Park/16th Street to reach the Bench. The sidewalk across from Central High School on the east side of S. Park Street is uneven in several places and crosses several driveways with downhill inclines. We recommend using the west sidewalk on S. Park Street directly in front of Central High School to reach the bench.
  • Seating – The Elizabeth Eckford Bus Bench has a concrete base and wood paneled slats. Visitors may sit on the bench; climbing or standing on the bench is prohibited
  • Service animal - In October 2018, the National Park Service (NPS) issued a policy memorandum regarding the use of service animals by persons with disabilities in national parks. The revised policy aligns the NPS policy with the standards established by the Department of Justice and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Only dogs are classified as service animals, and they must perform a specific task that assists a person with a disability. Emotional support or comfort animals are not service animals. Service animals are allowed at the Elizabeth Eckford Bus Bench.
  • Water - Water fountains inside the visitor center are wheelchair accessible.
  • A Wheelchair is available on request at the visitor center information desk for use throughout the National Historic Site.
 
The front page of Central High School NHS on the NPS Mobile App; features include "What to See," "Things to Do," "Self-Guided Tours," "Visitor Centers," and "Amenities"
Self-Guided Tours includes an audio walking tour researched, scripted, & recorded by students in the Central High Memory Project. The content narrates eyewitness accounts of the unsuccessful first attempt by ten African American students to enter Central High School in Sept. 1957.

NPS Photo

Self-Guided Walking Tour with Audio & Transcript


We have provided an accessible self-guided walking tour with accompanying audio and a transcript for your use - a presentation researched, scripted, and recorded by students in the Central High Memory Project. The content follows the footsteps and narrates eyewitness accounts of the unsuccessful first attempt by ten African American students (September 4, 1957) to attend classes during the historic desegregation crisis at Central High School.

The tour includes maps, a timeline of the crisis, full written transcripts of the content narration and more. Note - this content is available free on the National Park Service Mobile App on Google Play and iOS devices.

Please note - This tour retraces the walk of Elizabeth Eckford during the 1st attempt to integrate Central High School on Sept. 4, 1957. The language in the audio narration & written transcript is directly from eyewitness & published accounts and includes racial epithets. The inclusion of this strong language is meant solely to convey the courage of the African American students in the face of charged racism & bigotry. We ask that you please use appropriate guidance when using this resource.

 
CHSC Visitor Center
Little Rock Central High School NHS Visitor Center

NPS Photo

Little Rock Central High School NHS is committed to a continuing effort to improve the accessibility of our programming and facilities. If you have accessibility-related questions, concerns, suggestions or want to submit an accommodation request, please contact Brian Schwieger, Accessibility Coordinator, by email {brian_schwieger@nps.gov (with Accessibility in the subject line)} or by phone at (501) 396-3020.

Visitor Center

  • Entrances - The visitor center is equipped with automated doors/accessible entrances at both the east and west entrances. The visitor center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. CST/CDT to 4:30 p.m. CST/CDT and is closed on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
  • Exhibits/Media -
    • The visitor center offers the Durateq® Assistive Technology System with three services for visitors: Audio description (AD) of the exhibits in the visitor center for visitors who are blind or have low vision; Assistive Listening (ALS) in the multi-purpose room and at the audio stations in the visitor center for visitors who are hard of hearing; and Handheld Captions (HC) at the audio stations in the visitor center for visitors who are deaf. Visitors may check out a handheld device which provides accessible services from a park representative at the Visitor Center desk. Content is automatically activated on the devices via “invisible” infrared emitters installed throughout the exhibit space.
    • Visitors may check out a handheld device which provides accessible services from a park representative at the Visitor Center desk. Content is automatically activated on the devices via “invisible” infrared emitters installed throughout the exhibit space.
    • Exhibit cases and panels follow Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design.
    • The tactile or otherwise interactive exhibits are structured to be accessible from a wheelchair.
    • The park film ("Step Up and Change the Future"), interactive touchscreens and audio/video displays in the exhibit area are open captioned.
    • The park multipurpose room is equipped with telecoil (T-coil) transmitter equipment.
  • Information on the National Historic Site is available in printed format – ask at the visitor center information desk for available materials.
  • American Sign Language interpretation – American Sign Language Tours may be arranged prior to your visit. If you wish to arrange for an ASL Tour, notification in writing is required at least two (2) weeks prior to your visit. Please contact us by sending an email to brian_schwieger@nps.gov
  • Parking - Two accessible parking spaces are available immediately adjacent to the east entrance of the visitor center.
  • No Pay Phone
  • Restrooms - The women's and men's restroom are both wheelchair accessible.
  • Routes - Paved from parking lot on east side of visitor center with slight uphill inclined ramp; west outdoor plaza is paved and connects to west entrance of visitor center. A paved sidewalk runs around the perimeter of the visitor center and can be accessed from the east parking lot and all four corners of the visitor center grounds.
  • Seating - Benches or chairs are available throughout the visitor center and on the west outdoor plaza adjacent to the visitor center.
  • Service animal - In October 2018, the National Park Service (NPS) issued a policy memorandum regarding the use of service animals by persons with disabilities in national parks. The revised policy aligns the NPS policy with the standards established by the Department of Justice and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Only dogs are classified as service animals, and they must perform a specific task that assists a person with a disability. Emotional support or comfort animals are not service animals. Service animals are allowed inside the visitor center.
  • Water - Water fountains are wheelchair accessible.
  • A Wheelchair is available on request at the visitor center information desk for use throughout the National Historic Site.

Last updated: August 9, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Little Rock Central High School NHS
2120 W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive

Little Rock, AR 72202-5212

Phone:

501.374.1957

Contact Us