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Visitors Center FAQ

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Question:
What can I expect to see at the Visitor Center?

Answer:
Our Visitor Center features work being done around the world to help all people live healthy, productive lives. In our galleries, you’ll be able to:

  • Find out more about the people who make up the foundation—the Gates family, employees, grantees, and those who benefit from the work.
  • Learn about some of the world’s toughest challenges, both local and global, such as family homelessness in Seattle, farming in Tanzania, or polio in Pakistan.
  • Touch, play, and interact with exhibits that invite you to explore your own solutions to tough problems.
  • Share your ideas with your friends, family, and community, and connect with others who share your interests.

The Visitor Center has a small, 49-seat theater where we present videos, speakers, demonstrations, and other activities. Please see our posted schedule upon arrival, or contact us for more information: visitorcenterstaff@gatesfoundation.org, (206) 709-3100 x7100.

Question:
I'm a teacher. How can I arrange a tour or visit for my class? Are there supporting materials you can provide?

Answer:
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center provides an educational, inspiring, and motivational experience for school groups. Group visits are 60 – 90 minutes and include both a hosted tour and time to explore on your own.

Visitor Center staff will follow up each reservation request with questions to help us tailor your tour to meet the needs of your group. Each group reservation includes pre- and post-visit materials to supplement your group’s experience.

Group visits can be booked between 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. To book a tour, please click here.

Question:
Can I visit the foundation campus while I'm at the Visitor Center?

Answer:
The foundation campus is an active work space for more than 900 employees based in Seattle, so it is not open to the public. However, visitors have ample views into the heart of the campus from several vantage points.

The best view is from an outdoor overlook on Fifth Avenue North (next to the foundation’s main entrance), where informational panels provide highlights of our work and the campus. An audio tour is also a great way to experience the campus during your visit. Accessible by dialing 206.577.3617, the audio tour offers information on our programs and history, campus design and features, sustainability, artwork, and Visitor Center. Numbers on plaques around our campus exterior indicate audio tour stops and correspond with numbers on a map (pick up a copy in the foundation's reception building or at the Visitor Center).

Question:
Can I rent the Visitor Center for events?

Answer:
Sorry, we do not have a public space for rent. Our neighbors in Seattle Center and surrounding areas provide a variety of excellent venues for private parties and events.

Question:
Who designed and built the Visitor Center?

Answer:
Our employee team worked with internationally renowned design and fabrication firms.

Exhibit design was provided by Olson Kundig Architects (Seattle), exhibit graphic design by Studio Matthews (Seattle), fabrication and installation by Pacific Studio (Seattle), multimedia experience design by Possible Worldwide (Los Angeles), audio visual integration by BBI (San Francisco), and video production by AKF Media Inc. (Seattle). We chose our partners for their exceptional teams and practices, which give careful consideration to culture, stewardship, sustainability, and community support.

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