CRAIG THOMAS DISCOVERY & VISITOR CENTER
GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION'S FLAGSHIP PROJECT
The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center is a 22,000-square-foot facility that orients, educates, and inspires visitors to make discoveries of their own in the park. The result of an innovative public-private collaboration between Grand Teton National Park and the Foundation, the center has been welcoming visitors to Grand Teton since its opening in 2007.
The $21.6 million first phase was funded with an $8 million congressional appropriation and $13.6 million in private-sector gifts. As one of the largest campaigns of its kind, the project received national attention and continues to serve as a model for other national parks and friends organizations around the country. Strong support for the campaign, including a $500,000 challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation, allowed Grand Teton National Park Foundation to complete its initial goal early and extend the campaign to raise an additional $3.2 million for a high-definition theater and auditorium.
THE ARCHITECTS – BOHLIN CYWINSKI JACKSON
Founder Peter Bohlin and his team at Bohlin Cywinksi Jackson are widely renowned for their design of institutional, residential, and commercial buildings, including Apple retail stores around the world. Mr. Bohlin was awarded the AIA Gold Medal by the American Institute of Architects' board of directors in 2009. Although the firm’s work ranges greatly in scale and circumstance, similarly-themed projects by BCJ include the Liberty Bell Complex in Independence National Historic Park and the Vermont Institute of Natural Science Raptor Center.
DESIGNED BY RALPH APPELBAUM ASSOCIATES
Three main themes featuring people, place, and protection are explored through the center’s interpretive displays, which were designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates. Visitors can explore a large relief model of the park that uses technology to demonstrate glacier movement and animal migration, touchable objects and artifacts, children’s exhibits, a streaming in-floor video, and a photomural tribute to Teton mountaineers that utilizes the center’s 30-foot walls.