ST. LOUIS, MO — The new St. Louis Arch Museum is scheduled to open July 4, 2018. But, a lot of the work for the museum is being done 1,700 miles away. Pacific Studio on the west coast is building the exhibits for the museum.
"It’s the biggest project we’ve ever done,” said Pacific Studio president Mac Perkins.
The Seattle based business has quite a resume. They’ve worked on hundreds of museums across the country.
“I think we play a substantial role within the development of the new museum,” said Pacific Studio CEO Brian Henn.
“They are one of the best fabricators in the world,” said Executive Director of the Gateway Arch Park Foundation, Eric Moraczewski.
Moraczewski said the museum, which has a price tag close to $100 million, will be about 50 percent larger than the old one, with a brand new entrance that allows a lot of daylight inside.
“This museum is very interactive very user friendly were really bringing people in asking you to touch it and be a part of the exhibits," said Eric Moraczewski.
Sparks were flying as crews prepare for the arrival of more than 100 exhibits. The story of westward expansion and how St. Louis shaped the future of this country will be told in six different spaces.
In Seattle, 125 people have been working on the displays. A team of 15 technical designers put in 14,000 hours on 3D computers to re-create historic objects to tell the story.
April Hinds is one of those designers.
“What we do is take a designer’s concept and turn it into real world buildable shop drawings,” said April Hinds.
Shop drawings move from the computer world to the wood shop or metal shop where they become real. Another team uses computers to make drawings for smaller items, 3-D printers bring them to life. One of the impressive exhibits is the busy river front and what it looked like in the 1851. It has been duplicated, it’s simply amazing.
The boats were first modeled on computers and then 3D printers produced them. Sierra Moring worked on the riverfront project.
“We get reference from historians whether for a boat or a building that kind of thing,” said Sierra Moring.
Historic pictures were used to ensure buildings look like the old ones. The staff even created all sorts of people to populate the riverfront working class, slaves, and upper class.
“They are producing an exhibit that has an impact,” said Brian Henn.
Crews at the museum construction site were also preparing for the arrival of priceless historic pieces to be displayed in specially designed cases.
“I think this should make St. Louis swell with pride," said Eric Moraczewski.
A wall made up of the actual stones from an original French trading post that was located on the Arch grounds hundreds of years ago is being reconstructed in the museum.
There is much work still to be done. It looks like the new museum will please millions of visitors.