For a River Heritage Museum at Grand Canyon National Park

Heritage Education Campus

The Grand Canyon River Heritage Museum project has its early roots in the Park’s 1995 General Management Plan that envisioned a broad interpretive “heritage education campus” at Grand Canyon’s South Rim Village, housed in the historic buildings across the railroad tracks from the Bright Angel Lodge.

Subsequently, the NPS conducted a comprehensive “Village Interpretive Area” study in 2004, which identified the historic Laundry Building (one of the original Fred Harvey service buildings) as the appropriate home for the historic boats and river museum. The Grand Canyon River Heritage Museum Feasibility Study, completed in 2010 and led by the same architectural firm as the 2004 study, delves into the details and fleshes out this compelling concept.

In keeping with existing park planning, the river heritage museum proposal is therefore an important component of a much larger vision. Unfortunately, the NPS has since abandoned the Heritage Education Campus concept. Unless and until the NPS decides to revisit the question of redeveloping the South Rim historic district with an emphasis on expanding interpretative visitor opportunities, as opposed to its present path of pursuing concessioner managed and directed commercial business development in this area, the river heritage museum effort cannot move forward.

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