The Raising of a New Visitor Center!
After years of planning and fundraising, construction is now well underway for the new $58 million museum and visitor center that will replace the current USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center shore side facility.
Construction will be done in phases over the next two years enabling the center and tours to the USS Arizona Memorial to remain open throughout the process. The official dedication of the new visitor center and museum is scheduled for December 7, 2010.
In the meantime, we invite you to follow along with us through this historic transformation. We will be posting bi-monthly updates and photos of our progress along with valuable visitor tips. Be sure to check back often!
First, a little history…
The USS Arizona Memorial, which spans the sunken ship, was built in 1962 with privately raised funds and a Congressional appropriation.
Initially, visitors to the USS Arizona Memorial waited in the hot sun before boarding Navy boats to the USS Arizona Memorial. To better accommodate and provide a more interpretive experience, the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center was built and dedicated in 1980. Operations were turned over by the U.S. Navy to the National Park Service.
The USS Arizona Memorial just a short time before its official opening on Memorial Day, 1962
Originally designed for 2,000 daily visitors, the visitor center today receives over 4,500 visitors each day, and nearly 1.5 million visitors each year. Larger than expected visitation, structural deterioration, lack of space for the growing collection of rare museum artifacts, as well as insufficient educational and curatorial space have all contributed to the urgent need to replace and expand the current museum and visitor center.
What’s behind those black construction barriers”...
A whole lot of construction! For Phase-I of our construction process, we’ve blocked off and cleared the north area of the site that served as a parking lot and housed the original Ferry Landing Building.