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Before its recent, $380 million makeover, the Gateway Arch sat cut off from the rest of downtown St. Louis by surface traffic lanes and a sunken interstate highway, and visitors entered the Arch at either base of its two legs. Today, after a transforming overhaul of the grounds and museum, the Arch complex is accessed through a sweeping glass entrance that looks west toward the Old Courthouse (also a part of the Gateway Arch National Park, its new name). Past an open atrium, the new Gateway Arch Museum tells a more complicated tale than its previous incarnation. It recounts the early European presence in the region when a French trading company founded the city in 1764, and offers a replica of French colonial architecture constructed on the spot with period tools. The city’s fur-trading persona is represented by the façade of the Old Rock House, one of the buildings demolished on the 90-acre site overlooking the Mississippi River to make way for the Arch grounds. The exploits of Lewis and Clark to open the American West to settlers are duly noted, but the museum takes pains to see the westward expansion of the U.S. through the eyes of American Indians and Mexicans as well, for whom America’s “Manifest Destiny” spelled disaster and loss of territory. The museum’s final exhibit examines the 1947 national design competition won by Eero Saarinen (who did not live to see it completed in 1965) and reinforces the wisdom of the competition judges. Naturally, the Arch experience includes the Tram Ride to the Top of the 630-foot high monument for spectacular views of St. Louis and southern Illinois, but also features excursions on the Gateway Arch Riverboats and a visit to the Old Courthouse. www.gatewayarch.com.