Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar joined Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Boston National Historical Park Superintendent Cassius Cash, and other dignitaries on Friday, May 25 to dedicate a high-tech visitor center at the newly-renovated Faneuil Hall, the site of important events in our nation’s history ranging from the American Revolution to the movement to abolish slavery.
“With the opening of this new visitor center, we are bringing the 18th century into the 21st century, giving visitors a unique opportunity to experience our nation’s history,” Salazar said. “We are adding another great reason for tourists to visit Boston and explore the sites that played a vital role both in the founding of our nation and in the abolitionist movement.”
The visitor center will feature new literature and signs about Boston's Trails to Freedom – both the Freedom Trail and the Black Heritage Trail. By offering visitors an entry point to both trails and tours from the same location, rather than expecting tourists to find the Black Heritage Trail on their own, the new center elevates the profile of Boston’s lesser-known heritage trail which explores the history of the abolitionist movement and the African American community.
The new facility, which is a collaboration between the city of Boston and the National Park Service, includes interactive exhibits, an audio visual orientation program, handicapped-accessible public restrooms, a bookstore and several local vendors selling goods ranging from coffee to art work. The space is comprised of 7,400 square feet for visitor services and community meeting space.
“Through this visitor center and its first-in-the-nation technology, The National Park Service will deliver Boston’s rich, textured and inspirational story to people from all over the world,” said Cassius Cash, Superintendent of Boston National Historical Park and Boston African American National Historic Site. “We’re marrying technology and history to transport visitors to the Boston that played a starring role in our struggle for independence and the creation of democracy.”
Faneuil Hall is where gatherings during both the American Revolution and the Abolitionist Movement took place. The new Visitor Center provides an opportunity for tourists to learn about their options in one place.
In an effort to make exploring the city easier, The National Park Service developed a first-of-its-kind app that visitors can download at the visitor center. The app includes information about Boston National Historical Park and Boston African American National Historic Site, as well as other parks in the region, and features custom maps, and turn-by-turn directions to dozens of historic sites. Users will find fun facts, frequently asked questions, restaurant, transportation, shopping, and hotel information. The app will also be available on iTunes and Android.