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New visitors center a highlight at Scotts Bluff National Monument

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 10:26 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Hands-on exhibits are giving visitors to Scottsbluff a better understanding of what pioneers went through as they passed through the area in search of a better life.

We talked with Eric Grunwald, who is the lead interpreter at Scotts Bluff National Monument. He says the exhibits at the new visitors center are interactive. “Visitors can come here and touch the exhibits, and really get a sense of the history of this place,” Grunwald said. “The exhibits before were what we called ‘Mission 66’ exhibits. They were created for the 50th anniversary of the National Park Service. They were outdated, and so the major reason for the change is to get something new and something modern.”

Visitors are providing the park service with plenty of positive feedback. “Locals are concerned about the dioramas they are used to seeing. They have images of people hunting bison. Those have temporarily been removed. But rest assured, they will be back, as we are taking some time to get them restored and refurbished. Hopefully they will be back in the visitors center by the end of this year.”

The new and improved visitors center technically opened back in March. A grand opening and ribbon cutting took place in May. “I think people should come here to learn about the nation’s rich history,” Grunwald said. “Scottsbluff is a landmark for many. You had Native Americans traveling through this area, for who knows how long. Then you had fur traders traveling through the area in the late 1700′s and early 1800′s. Then came the immigrants who were heading to places like Oregon, California, and Utah, and who were really trying to find a better life. I think that something we can all relate to.”

If you’d like to come to the new visitors center at Scotts Bluff National Monument, it is open year round. In the summer, the visitors center is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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