Sitting at the crossroads between east and west, north and south, Native American and colonial cultures, the Gateway Arch provides a rich environment for students to learn about America’s history, as well as their own.
Plan your next educational outing here, and we’ll help put together a program to suit your students’ specific needs and interests.
The Education Department at Gateway Arch National Park provides education programs and resources aligned with national, state, and local learning standards. Our National Park Service (NPS) ranger-led programs can support classroom education with museum exhibits, living history items and period clothing. Rangers facilitate audience-centered programs that feature role playing, decision-making, multiple perspectives, analytical thinking and many hands-on activities to help students better understand the people, places, and events that inspired settlers’ expansion into the western United States and St. Louis’ role in 19th century history. Programs are hosted at the Old Courthouse or the new Museum at the Gateway Arch. They are presented year-round, free of charge.
The Museum at the Gateway Arch opened July 3, 2018. Brand new, interactive exhibits span more than 200 years of American history from St. Louis’ beginnings as a multicultural outpost for French colonial fur traders in 1764 to the construction of the Gateway Arch in 1965.
Lewis and Clark: Explore the cultures, landscapes and animals encountered by the Corps of Discovery as they traveled and mapped the newly purchase Louisiana Territory.
Trappers and Traders: Bold and audacious, join these adventurers as they learn about the resources of unknown territories, barter and live among American Indians, and contribute to the economy of the American frontier.
American Indians of the Great Plains: Compare and contrast your life with that of traditional Plains Indians tribes during the 1800s. Learn how the land shaped their traditional tribal customs and how westward expansion changed their way of life.
Heading West? Supply yourself in St. Louis before heading west. Confront some of the same choices early pioneers did while traveling west across prairies, rivers and mountains to Oregon and California.
St. Louis: How It All Began: In 1764 French fur traders founded St. Louis at what is now the base of the Gateway Arch. Explore how this small yet diverse settlement grew into a thriving river town.
General Museum Tour: Meet the people and hear the stories of those who lived, settled and worked in the early 18th- and 19th-century “west.” The program will include information and activities related to Lewis and Clark, the fur trade, Plains Indians and pioneers on the trail.
The Old Courthouse is the noted site of the first Dred Scott trial and throughout the 19th century, the building was the civic center of St. Louis. Housing courts and business of this growing city, life in St. Louis was centered around this architectural gem.
Note: The following programs will be hosted at the Gateway Arch
Old Courthouse Building Tour*: Admire the Greek- and Roman-inspired architecture as you discover the Old Courthouse and its important role as St. Louis’ civic hub through the 1800s.
*The Old Courthouse is temporarily closed.
Trial Reenactments: Offered by the National Park Service and held in restored courtrooms in the Old Courthouse, these ranger-led programs give your students the opportunity to read scripts, argue facts, and decide a verdict as they reenact one of several historic trials that took place at the Old Courthouse.
Plan your next educational outing here.
Treat your band or choir group to a once-in-a-lifetime experience in a one-of-a-kind place. Each year, the River City Music Days (RCMD) program welcomes hundreds of young artists to Gateway Arch National Park to perform on the grounds of the Gateway Arch. In this unique, non-competitive performance opportunity, students enjoy a full day in an amazing venue while learning about their own national history. Offered Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, April through mid-June, a typical RCMD program runs from approximately 8:30am to 3:30pm. For more information or to schedule a performance, contact our Group Sales team at (314) 923-3080 or email@example.com.
Please allow 60 minutes per trial or tour. Maximum group size for National Park Service programs is 30. For student groups, one adult is required for every 10 students. Programs at the Old Courthouse begin at the top of the hour. Programs at the Museum at the Gateway Arch begin at half past the hour. Group reservations for National Park Service programs must be made at least 30 days in advance. Programs are subject to availability.
The $3 National Park entrance fee is waived for bona fide educational groups. For Tram Ride to the Top tickets, groups of 20 or more qualify for group rates and complimentary tickets (purchase 19 tickets and receive the 20th free.) Click here for group pricing or fill out our Group Inquiry Form and a sales agent will contact you. Please contact the Call Center at (877) 982-1410 to make group reservations for educational programs and other activities at the Arch grounds.
Enrich your students’ learning experience with the following resources:
Teacher activity guides, pre- and post-visit lessons and activities, trial guides, scripts, and more information are available on the National Park Service website.
If you cannot travel to the Gateway Arch, bring “hands-on” history into your classroom. Find a list of trunk topics and information on reserving a trunk on the National Park Service website. Trunks are available for a period of two weeks. The price is $35 or $45 depending on location. Call (314) 655-1635 to reserve a trunk.
Teachers may borrow DVDs related to westward expansion and the Gateway Arch. Titles and descriptions are available on the National Park Service website. Call (314) 655-1635 to reserve.
Each year our education department hosts educator workshops throughout the year. We can also help schools develop and facilitate workshops for their teachers. View a list of topics or call (314) 655-1635 to learn more.
The education department offers a series of programs and workshops that help fulfill the requirements for a number of badges related to history, citizenship, law and the environment.
Children ages 5 – 13 can earn a badge by completing activities in a Junior Ranger booklet at either the Gateway Arch of the Old Courthouse. Booklets are available at information desks inside of both facilities.
Each school year, Gateway Arch National Park offers a limited number of Outreach Programs to St. Louis metro area schools. These free, 60-minute classroom visits by a park staff member for grades 3–6 are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For details, call (314) 655-1635.