2-year Jefferson Memorial renovation project begins

The National Park Service has began a two-year renovation and restoration of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

The chamber and the statue of Jefferson will remain open during the work, the park service said in a statement. The lower level, with exhibits, restrooms, the elevator and retail space will close this month.

The work will include a complete renovation of the lower-level exhibit area, which was installed in 1994. The new area will provide “more perspectives as it shares Thomas Jefferson’s multi-faceted story,” the park service said, and some of the exhibits will be in the chamber area.

Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said the specifics of the new exhibits are still being worked out, but that “We’re certainly going to take a look at the paradox of the author of the lines ‘All men are created equal’ who owned more than 600 slaves in his life.”

“There’s certainly been an awful lot that’s changed in the interpretation of Thomas Jefferson,” Litterst said. “So we want to make sure people know the full story. We’re working with a wide variety of Jefferson scholars and organizations to make sure we’re not overlooking anything.”

The work will also improve accessibility, the park service said, with sloped pathways to the east and west of the front steps and a modernized elevator.

The project will also include replacing the paving on the lower terrace in front of the memorial, reconfiguring the lower-level restrooms and retail space and upgrading the fire suppression and security systems.

Temporary restrooms will be set up.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2012 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He went to George Washington University as an undergraduate and is regularly surprised at the changes to the city since that faraway time.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow WTOP on Twitter and Instagram to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2022 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up