The Interpretive Centre serves as the gateway to the experiences within Kay-Nah Chi-Wah-Nung. The tours through the site will allow visitors to ?descend into times past?, to experience the history, traditions, and culture of aboriginal people through a ?living? museum in a natural setting unchanged by time.
The Interpretive Centre performs a variety of different but related functions. The role of the Interpretive Centre within Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung is:
- To introduce the site, its form and history, and to provide visitors with knowledge which will enhance their appreciation of?the storyline;
- To create a safe and comfortable environment in which to present a general overview of the story line for those unable to view the?site based interpretation;
- To serve as a staging area for visits to the site and as a base to which visitors can return for more information, rest or for?refreshments;
- To enhance appreciation of, and provide a sense of?spirituality to, the information presented;
- To provide visitor comfort facilities such as washrooms,?food services, retail opportunities, I rest areas and travel information, and;
- To provide the necessary areas to house the administrative and cultural functions of the Centre.
The primary role of the Centre is that of a Meeting Place. It is a place where different cultures come together; where the indigenous culture of the Ojibway is communicated to other nonindigenous peoples. Exhibitory, demonstrations and interpretive programming will be exciting, authentic, and interactive. It combines the stories of the past with the aspirations of the future. It also shows the importance of wildlife (fish, game) to aboriginal people.
The interpretive component of the Centre is presented via a multimedia theatre, interpretive galleries, a temporary gallery for travelling exhibits, a demonstration hall, and ceremonial dance areas.
The facility will act as an education centre. The history and culture of the Ojibway will be preserved and passed on to younger generations by educators and elders and through the preparation of appropriate materials, audio/video presentations, books, etc..
A third role is that of research. An ongoing research program is vital to the preservation and understanding of this native culture. The many historic sites will attract visiting archaeologists and anthropologists to the Centre.
The displays, storyline, and architecture will contribute to the public?s perception of the Interpretive Centre. The objective of the Rainy River First Nations is to create a facility that depicts their culture and history in-an educational and entertaining fashion. The Centre will not display a large caution of original artifacts, but will feature key pieces to support the interpretive storyline.
The interpretive experience begins in the parking area with a series of thematic messages; messages that heighten and stimulate a sense of anticipation and interest. Entry signage, the entry driveway, the grounds, and the building are all part of this integrated experience. Lining the entry road with artistic features and permiting?parking areas dramatizes the site access. From the parking area, an entry plaza prepares visitors for the interpretive experience within the building.
Image and Massing
The Interpretive Centre design is based on symbolic images drawn from Ojibway culture. The circle is a powerful force and will be included in the building?s form. In addition, the Mounds shape influences the architecture, planning and programs. The building enhances the overall visual character of the natural landscape. The architecture is integrated with the storyline. This is done by focusing and controlling the interpretive sequence, and the extension and seamless expression of the interpretive message. The building provides an opportunity to illustrate interpretive concepts and to evoke a feeling for the inner spirit of it?s subject matter
Just as the choice of building form and material selection provides an interpretive message, the development of appropriate landscaping elements likewise contributes to the experience. The landscape theme is served by maintaining the natural vegetation and existing landforms.
River Valley Access
The Interpretive Centre is the ?gateway? to the experiences found in the Park. The development plan includes an elaborate trail system along the river valley, a system that is designed to accommodate both foot and horse drawn vehicle traffic. The trail provides an overview of the site and allows visitors to ?descend into times past?. As such, the trail serves as an important interpretive device to the mounds site.
Natural Light and Views
Natural light has been introduced into the main display and demonstration areas with appropriate controls to suit specific display requirements.
The Interpretive Centre is organized into six functional components:
- Visitor Services
- Administration Services
- Interpretation and Demonstration
- Interior and?Exterior
- Culture and Research