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Park Store Design Update

Apr 24, 2024

Each park store renovation is an opportunity to extend the educational experience into the retail environment and create a fresh, modern, and functional look. Throughout 2023 and 2024, we have been completing several new store renovations including Antietam National Battlefield, Pea Ridge National Military Park, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and John F Kennedy National Historic Site.

Eastern National’s approach to reimagining our park stores involves three key steps. Working closely with our in-store staff to improve the functionality of the space, updating our store fixtures, colors, and finishes with a modern look, and collaborating with our park partners and their exhibit designers to create educational elements for the store to ensure it seamlessly extends the educational experience.

Two recent examples of this are Antietam National Battlefield and New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. Both visitor centers went through renovations and exhibit redesigns. We collaborated with the exhibit design companies to create panels for the store that provide color and educational decorative elements in our store environment and continue the educational experience into the retail environment. With projects where there are exhibit changes, we also take a new look at our product assortment. We discontinue or add new items and themes that reflect the updated stories told in the exhibit experience. A great example of this is again at Antietam. We brought in graphics and merchandised the store in collections that matched the new themed sections of the exhibits: freedom, survival, memory, terror, and conflict. This included an expansion of new stories like battlefield photography and the story of enslaved people that we never had represented in the store before.

Each renovation is an opportunity to reflect the spirit and themes of a location in the store environment. It’s our goal for every park store to feature unique details while remaining flexible and functional. This bespoke approach isn’t just reserved for high volume or high-profile locations. It can be applied to sites of any size and sales volume. For example, at Camp Nelson National Monument, one of our new locations in 2023, we have a smaller store footprint but were still able to bring in fixtures that reflected the historic elements of the Civil War era supply depot story. By using a wood grain laminate and by custom building an ammo box tiered display, we can incorporate the exhibit elements of the park regardless of size.

Coming up in 2024 we have projects wrapping up at Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site, Fort Donelson National Battlefield, and Russell Cave National Monument. We will also have many exciting renovations on the horizon in 2025. We hope this new approach to store design creates retail environments that are as unique and educational as our product assortments, and that support the daily work of our store staff and partners while leaving a lasting impression on the visitors we serve.