Construction Starts on New Visitor Center at Cambridge American Cemetery

To help tell the story of the nearly 9,000 members of the U.S. armed forces buried or memorialized at Cambridge American Cemetery in England, construction of a new visitor center began Monday, Aug. 13, 2012. The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) expects to open the visitor center in late 2013.

The 4,000-square-foot center will honor the courage and sacrifice of men and women who participated in the Battle of the Atlantic, the Strategic Air Campaign, and the build-up to the D-Day Normandy invasion. Through interpretive exhibits that incorporate personal histories, photographs, films, and interactive displays, visitors will gain a better understanding of the British-American partnership that contributed to the Allied victory in Europe in World War II.

“Our commemorative sites have long been respected as beautiful memorial tributes to Americans that gave their lives during the World Wars,” said ABMC secretary Max Cleland. “We also have a duty to preserve for future generations the stories of the brave men and women who died defending the soil where they now rest. This new visitor center will allow us to do just that.”

The $4.37 million Cambridge facility is the first of three ABMC visitor center projects set to begin construction in 2012. A small visitor center at the Pointe du Hoc Ranger Monument in Normandy, France, will be expanded and renovated, and a new center will be built at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy. The new Cambridge center will be located behind the existing visitor building, which will remain as administrative space. The visitor center design was approved by the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the South Cambridgeshire District Council in conjunction with English Heritage.

The Cambridge architecture and engineering firm of Bland, Brown & Cole designed the new center, which is being built by Barnes Construction. Exhibit design is by the U.S. firm of Gallagher & Associates, Silver Spring, Md.

The cemetery will remain open throughout construction, although the main cemetery entrance will be closed. Access to the cemetery will be relocated temporarily onto the road from Coton crossroads to the village of Madingley.