Each year hundreds of thousands of visitors swing open the doors of the LEED-Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified Museum and Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Military Park.
Behind the scenes, the Gettysburg Foundation has worked closely and methodically with staff from Gettysburg National Military Park to make a series of improvements to the visitor experience at the facility.
One set of changes has focused on reducing the facilities' carbon footprint, consistent with our long-running LEED-Gold certified status. More than 100 new geothermal wells have been drilled on the property without disruption to the visitor and they are providing greater energy efficiency. New car-charging stations have been installed to host electric automobiles driven by visitors. In the main lobby, new lighting has been installed throughout the lobby that automatically adjusts to outside lighting levels, reducing energy consumption.
"We have a long-standing commitment to energy efficiency," said Brian Shaffer, Vice President of Facilities for the Gettysburg Foundation, responsible for implementing the many changes on the grounds. "We have taken many steps that may go unnoticed to the casual observer, but taken together, symbolize our environmental stewardship in a cutting-edge facility."
Signage has been updated to inform and direct visitors. Most notably, the Park and the Foundation worked together to update visitor information on a brand-new kiosk sign that virtually all visitors see as they start to plan their day. Inside the Museum and Visitor Center, the overhead and wall signs have been updated to point visitors to Ranger programs held just outside and to a new cafe/coffee shop. New signs on limber chest/donation boxes place Gettysburg in the context of international visitors, who can now more easily donate to the Park through the Gettysburg Foundation.
Some months back, the Park’s information desk was moved much closer to the front door so that visitors can more easily engage with National Park Rangers and volunteers upon entrance, while the Friends of Gettysburg desk was moved forward in the lobby to provide easy access to people interested in joining the premiere membership organization that supports Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site.
Other improvements made by the Gettysburg Foundation include: automatic doors throughout the museum that ease the way for visitors with disabilities; a newly constructed leadership pavilion right outside to host small groups and provide visitors with a covered place to picnic; repainting of crosswalks and parking areas to maximize pedestrian safety; and perhaps mostly notably, a wall of brand-new charging stations where visitors can charge their phones as they experience Gettysburg.
"We are so pleased to have systematically worked our way through such a comprehensive set of visitor improvements on the grounds," said Matthew Moen, President of the Gettysburg Foundation and Zach Bolitho, Acting Superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site, in a joint statement. "Our commitment to an excellent visitor experience at the Gettysburg and Eisenhower national parks is paramount and our organizations have systematically cooperated to ensure it remains that way."
To begin your Gettysburg experience, visit the Museum and Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Military Park, 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, PA. Open daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.