The dynamic and interactive permanent exhibit gallery spans 7,200 square feet—nearly one-half of the entire ground floor. The Center’s exhibits will invite visitors to explore the social, economic, political, cultural and ecological history of the US Forest Service and the natural and cultural resources under its care.
Through the themes of wildlife, innovation, fire management, public policy, and the lasting contributions of the Forest Service to forest and grassland management, the Center and its programs will inspire, educate, and engage young and old in taking responsibility for the conservation of our forest and grassland resources.
The grand lobby will welcome visitors and you’ll find information on area attractions and a gift shop featuring books, posters and much more.
The Traveling and Themed Temporary Exhibit area will provide space to co-host exhibitions with the US Forest Service, partners and cooperators that explore our past, present and future.
The theater will use multi-media imagery and dioramas to appeal to a variety of our senses. The theater will also provide a forum for a variety of presentations and film premieres.
The first step in the process of designing exhibits for the National Conservation Legacy and Education Center is the definition of the Center’s Interpretive Themes. Exhibit designers will develop exhibit ideas to communicate the central messages of these themes. Themes will be used to develop story lines for the exhibits, traveling exhibits, virtual museum, brochures and more. In summer 2011 the Board outlined the following objective and themes for the Center.
The main interpretive objective of the Center is to: communicate the history of forest and grassland conservation in the United States through the telling of the story of the U.S. Forest Service and its partners and cooperators. We will do this using ten central themes:
1. Evolution of the Forest Service
Congress created the Forest Service in response to the growing concern at the turn of the last Century that the sustainability of our nation’s natural resources was at risk unless conservation practices were adopted, and the agency’s evolution in response to changing public needs and values.
2. America’s Forests and Grasslands
The Forest Service manages resources that are rich, diverse, beautiful, and vast in scope and scale across the nation, and are vital to the well being of all our people.
3. Striving for the Greatest Good
There are many different demands placed on National Forest System lands and resources and the Forest Service strives to reconcile these sometimes conflicting interests for the greatest good of all—today and for the future.
4. Changing the Course of History
The Forest Service’s conservation efforts helped the nation succeed in war, overcome economic setbacks, and restore health to important ecosystems.
5. The Forest Service Family
The dedicated men and women of the U.S. Forest Service provide conservation leadership for America by managing and preserving the nation’s forests and grasslands, often under challenging and dangerous conditions.
6. How We Manage Forests
The Forest Service uses a wide range of processes, equipment, specialized skills and science in managing the National Forests.
7. Wildland Fire
Fire is a natural force in America’s ecosystems. The Forest Service has always taken a leading role in increasing our understanding of fire, protecting lives and property, and managing fires to meet resource objectives.
8. Two-Way Communications
The Forest Service has worked to communicate information on resource conservation to the public. The opinions and evolving values of the public have and will continue to influence Forest Service policy.
9. Research and Technology
The Forest Service has one of the most comprehensive research, development and technology organizations in the world, and the results of that work and extensive partnerships have shaped conservation policy and provided countless benefits to the nation and the world.
From the beginning, the Forest Service has cooperated with and been assisted by many different State (State Foresters, Fish & Game, etc.) and Federal agencies (Fish & Wildlife Service, Federal Highway Administration, BLM, etc.), organizations, universities, and other partners in fulfilling its diverse responsibilities. State Foresters provide a critical link with private forest land owners.