Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center
Fort Monroe Authority,
FORT MONROE is a National Monument managed by the Fort Monroe Authority (FMA) in collaboration with the National Park Service (NPS). Glavé & Holmes Architecture recently completed the conversion of Building 138 at Fort Monroe into a new Visitor Center. Building 138, also known as Wisser Hall, was originally built in 1909 as a military library and is a contributing structure to the Fort Monroe National Historic Landmark District.
This project is a unique example of a State and Federal collaboration at this significant historic site. The Visitor Center welcomes visitors to Fort Monroe and orients them to the significant history of this property in addition to providing a welcome center for NPS staff to greet visitors to the National Monument. As a key component of the new permanent exhibit, this building tells the story of the arrival of the first African slaves in the continental U.S. to the site of Fort Monroe (Point Comfort) in 1619 and connects that story to the “Contraband of War” decision in 1861 that eventually led approximately 10,000 enslaved people to obtain their emancipation at Fort Monroe. The visitor center builds upon the additional historical exhibits in the Casemate Museum and entices visitors to the museum using the postern gate into the original masonry Fort. The new Visitor Center contains visitor facilities, a staffed visitor desk, exhibits, classrooms and archival storage space. A new addition makes the building fully accessible, by adding a new elevator and grade level entry for visitors.
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