Mount Rushmore National Memorial Visitor Contact Station & Interpretive Center and the Hall of Records

Visitors’ facilities shaped to frame and celebrate the national monument.

Size
57,000 SF
1,278 acre Master Plan

Year
1998

Location
Rapid City, SD

Client
National Park Service

To accommodate increasing tourist traffic, AMD Architects and DHM Design developed a five-year masterplan and facilities for the 1,278-acre park at Mount Rushmore, culminating in a presidential trail, visitor contact station, interpretive center and museum, concessions, restroom facilities, a 2,000-seat amphitheater, and administrative facilities. The master plan was designed to decrease the impact of the parking, concessions, and service facilities, preserve the park’s natural setting at the foreground of the monument, and develop an immersive museum experience illustrating how the monument was undertaken and realized.

The master plan and facilities’ character, siting, and design continually frames, references, and celebrates the monument, considered a treasured piece of national sculpture. The visitors’ experience echoes a pilgrimage, celebrated with an axial walkway leading the visitor from arrival at the park gate to an unimpeded view of the presidents’ monument. From the parking lot to the monument itself, the design solution enhances how visitors engage with the sculpture at different moments along their journey.

The project also includes the completion of sculptor Gutzon Borglum’s vision for the “Hall of Records,” a small project in the canyon immediately behind the four presidents, initiated during the carving of the National Memorial. Intended to be a vault cut into solid rock to house important documents including the Declaration of Independence, Borglum passed before his work was completed. AMD Architects worked with the National Park Service, the Mount Rushmore Society, and the Borglum Family to complete the Hall of Records. In final form, the project consists of a titanium container carefully installed beneath the tunnel floor, covered by a granite stone bearing an inscription by Borglum. The container houses a series of ceramic coated steel panels which are printed with the documents initially intended by Borglum.

In collaboration with DHM Design

The visitors’ experience echoes a pilgrimage, celebrated with an axial walkway leading the visitor from arrival at the park gate to an unimpeded view of the presidents’ monument.

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