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June 23: Official opening of the new Visitor Center at American Camp on San Juan Island

The new 2,500 sq ft American Camp Visitor Center at San Juan Island National Historical Park opens at 9 a.m. Thursday, June 23, 2022.

Paddles created by artisans from each of the Tribes who co-created the exhibits.

The new center was created in close collaboration with Coast Salish Tribes, indigenous artisans, scientists, and artists from throughout the Pacific Northwest. Visitors will see what life was like in the area before Euro-American colonization, learn more about the unique ecosystems, and about the many and diverse people who have made a mark on the island's history.

Double-wide trailer replaced by new American Camp Visitors Center

The development of the new Visitor Center started with planning ten years ago by faculty and students from the University Of Washington's College Of Built Environments.  They were tasked with planning a building to replace the temporary building - a double-wide trailer installed in 1977. The project was funded six years ago. 

According to the design company, OTAK, the center was designed to  provide space for visitor orientation, seating for an updated audiovisual program, fully accessible exhibits, public restrooms, and office and storage space for ranger staff. The project also included a realigned entry drive to improve visibility and safe access to the site from the public roadway. In addition to the realigned driveway the site improvements include a new entry monument sign, an expanded parking lot, an outdoor interpretive plaza for education programs, new outdoor exhibits, upgraded power and communication service, and replacement of the septic system. The visitor center, parking lot, exhibits, audiovisual program and public restrooms will be fully accessible, allowing visitors of different abilities to learn about and experience park resources.

One of the exhibits.

The Visitor Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Tuesday.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Jan. 2012: UW students/faculty to design new visitor center for American Camp

Feb 10, 2012: UW design students share American Camp Research at Mullis Center

 

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