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SEATTLE -- On Saturday, February 4, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will open the doors to its new Visitor Center, an interactive space that aims to connect visitors to the work of the foundation and help them explore their own solutions to some of the world’s toughest challenges. Visitors can learn more about the work foundation partners and grantees are doing around the world to help all people live healthy, productive lives. Admission is free. The space is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
“Every day, we are inspired by the innovative work our grantees and partners lead—work that is providing solutions, hope, and opportunity,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation. “Our Visitor Center is a place to showcase this innovation and motivate and inspire people to take action, in their own unique ways, to improve lives.”
From family homelessness in the Pacific Northwest, to education in the United States, to malaria in Africa, visitors can touch, interact with, and focus on exhibits that address the issues that interest them most. Visitors can also join conversations about important global and local issues. Exhibits encourage people to explore their own solutions and share ideas with other visitors and their own communities.
For example, at the Innovation & Inspiration Gallery, visitors can take a “Find Your Skills” quiz to help them identify their own strengths and passions. From there, they are invited to explore various stations aligned to their strengths that ask them to solve real-world problems and share their solutions with family and friends.
“There is something in the Visitor Center for everyone. You can dive into some of the most complex issues in really fun, interactive ways,” said Jeff Raikes, CEO of the foundation. “We offer hands-on experiences so that people can see for themselves how innovative tools are helping improve lives around the world.”
The Visitor Center incorporates a number of sustainable features and locally sourced materials. This includes more than 13,400 board feet of reclaimed ash wood, locally sourced from Tacoma and used in benches, flooring, and exhibit structures. Wall insulation is made from more than 2,300 pairs of recycled blue jeans. The Visitor Center building, attached to the Seattle Center garage, achieved LEED Gold certification and has one of the largest green roofs in the Pacific Northwest.
Throughout the year, content will be updated based on visitors’ contributions to the exhibits. For school or other groups and the public, the foundation also plans to host foundation videos, presentations, and public talks at the Visitor Center theater.
The Visitor Center, located at 500 Fifth Avenue North in Seattle, is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. To learn more, visit www.gatesfoundation.org, or find the Gates Foundation Visitor Center on Facebook and Twitter.