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Grand Opening of Wupatki Visitor Center Exhibits

Wupatki National Monument

National Park News

Almost 100 people – park friends, neighbors, partners, staff, and visitors – gathered at Wupatki National Monument on the morning of August 25, to celebrate the opening of new visitor center exhibits and the 89th anniversary of the National Park Service, which was established on that date in 1916. Special events included a ribbon cutting ceremony, a series of interpretive talks and backcountry guided hikes, and demonstrations of ancient technology skills.
The visitor center had been under construction since January, for interior renovations and replacement of forty-year-old interpretive exhibits. The transformation is now complete, and visitors are invited to explore the new interactive exhibits. What was life like? How do we know? Learn about this place from the varied perspectives of archeologists and American Indian groups who trace their ancestry to Wupatki. Would you have prospered as a farmer 800 years ago? Play the Corn Game and find out. The new exhibits feature artifact displays, a model pueblo room, computer recreations of pueblo construction, and more.
“One landscape, many lives. That's the big idea for the new exhibits at the Wupatki National Monument visitor center,” says NPS Exhibits Specialist Sue Fischer. “Over the course of 13,000 years, people with differing ways of life have thrived in this seemingly inhospitable environment. Each used and changed the land, and all valued what it had to offer.” Funded through the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program, the new exhibits and building upgrades represent countless hours of effort by National Park Service staff and partners. Exhibit design and fabrication was accomplished though a partnership with the Museum of Northern Arizona.
“The relationship between MNA and the Flagstaff Area National Monuments goes back to their creation; it is fitting that we have worked together to better interpret this area for our visitors,” said Fischer. “The list of other partners on this project is quite extensive and includes various tribal representatives, scientists, academics, and staff from other agencies. The support has been overwhelming.”
Wupatki was established in 1924 to protect the ancient dwellings of Puebloan peoples, and figures prominently in the history and culture of several American Indian tribes. “Wupatki offers a wonderful opportunity for the public to learn the complex stories of people interacting with their environment and with each other over time. We encourage everyone to come out, enjoy the new look of the visitor center and participate in interpretive programs,” said Park Superintendent Palma Wilson.
Wupatki National Monument is located 26 miles north of Flagstaff via Highway 89. Wupatki, Sunset Crater Volcano, and Walnut Canyon are managed together as the Flagstaff Area National Monuments. All are open in summer from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. MST. For additional information, call 928-679-2365 (Wupatki Visitor Center), 928-526-0502 (Sunset Crater Volcano), or 928-526-3367 (Walnut Canyon).


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