The Lincoln Memorial Gets a $69 Million Museum Underneath

The Lincoln Memorial Will Get an Ambitious Project - a $69 Million Museum Underneath the Memorial, the National Park Service Says.

Feb 23, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
The Lincoln Memorial. Source: QLan Huynh


The Lincoln Memorial. Source: QLan HuynhThe Lincoln Memorial is getting a new, $69 million worth museum. Overall, the memorial has an underground space, called the undercroft. The goal is to inform the public and visitors more about the history of the memorial. Also, to learn about the history behind its creation and the meaning it has acquired over time. With this, Washington D.C. gets a brand new, 15,000-square-foot museum.


The Lincoln Memorial’s New Space: A Chance to Learn More About History

Henry Bacon’s Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.


The National Park Service issued a statement about this new project on Monday, February 20. The representatives announced it to commemorate Presidents Day. The Lincoln Memorial has been celebrating Abraham Lincoln since 1922. Abraham Lincoln was America’s 16th president. Overall, he is the most famous for eradicating slavery. Also, he was instrumental in reconciling the nation after the Civil War.


The undercroft will be the space where new exhibitions will take place. NPS describes it as “a tall grid of concrete columns surrounded by large expanses of open space”. This new exhibition space will have a large grid of floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Moreover, the renovation will include new elevators, a bookshop, and facilities.


Daniel Chester French’s sculpture Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images.


The people involved in the development of this project are very excited, and there are many reasons for that. For example, the area under the museum has long been hidden from the public eye. Now people will finally get a chance to see what’s underneath. Also, citizens will be able to learn more about the memorial itself and the sixteenth president of the USA.

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“The undercroft offers a fascinating setting to learn more about America’s 16th president and the memorial that honours him”, Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks, said in a statement. A secondary objective is to maintain the memorial’s original architecture.


The Most Visited National Memorial With 8 Million Visits per Year

The undercroft of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.


This project would not be possible without donors. The project received funding from multiple donors, including the National Park Foundation. National Park Foundation President Will Shafroth said the government, without donors, would not be able to realize this idea on its own. Also, to provide American citizens, as well as tourists, with this amazing experience.


He also said the annual attendance at the Lincoln Memorial is 8 million. Because of this, it receives one of the highest numbers of visitors of any national memorial. The project and remodelling of the memorial’s underground has been discussed for decades. The expectations are that the museum’s construction will begin in March. Also, hopes are high that the construction will be over until 2026, in time for the 250th anniversary of American independence.


Philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, left, tours the undercroft of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.


Overall, the memorial is Henry Bacon’s final and most well-known Beaux-Arts design. Daniel Chester French created the imposing Abraham Lincoln seated marble statue, which stands 19 feet tall. French was also a key player in the American Renaissance, until he died in 1931.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.