Merchant's Millpond State Park Visitor's Center

Explore the Mysteries

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RWD collaborated with Frank Harmon Architect to design Merchants Millpond State Park's visitors center, where 1,500 square feet of exhibits highlight the wetland ecology, biodiversity, and cultural history of the region. The center, sited along the millpond, provides breathtaking views from every space within the building. The exhibit focuses on the comparison between unique features of coastal pond, southern swamp forest, pine woodland, and mixed hardwood forest ecosystems within the park's 3,300-acres. Dioramas of each of the four distinct natural communities are arranged in rows, enabling visitors to view them separately, making connections between the different plant and animal life associated with each, or to view them collectively in a single vista as they explore the grounds. Many of the dioramas represent scenes not visible in the wild, such as the inside of a beaver lodge in the coastal pond diorama. Visitors entering the lobby of the center are greeted with a description of the millpond's history. Graphic panels include illustrated diagrams explaining the mechanical workings of two types of mills and the structure of a millstone. Other exhibits overview the building's silver-level LEED certification and the benefits of building green. Materials and finishes used in the exhibits were selected to accommodate this level of certification.


Merchant's Millpond State Park Visitor's Center


Gatesville, NC


Frank Harmon Architect

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