Construction to begin soon on new $70 million exhibit under the Lincoln Memorial

▶ Watch Video: Construction on new exhibit under the Lincoln Memorial set to begin

Washington — The Lincoln Memorial, a towering monument to a towering figure in U.S. history, lures eight million visitors a year, and since it opened in 1922 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., has been one of America’s most iconic landmarks.

Beginning this summer, the National Park Service will begin a nearly $70 million renovation below the 19-foot, 175-ton statue of America’s 16th president. The renovation will involve transforming a giant, hidden underground chamber located beneath the statue into a 15,000 square-foot interactive exhibit.

Much of the project is funded by charitable donations and will only require the closure of a small visitor space located below ground. The Memorial chamber will remain accessible as crews add interactive displays of the Memorial’s iconic moments, from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, to a landmark 1939 performance by Marian Anderson.

“Imagine hearing Marian Anderson singing in there, projected into this space,” said Jeff Reinbold, superintendent for the National Mall and Memorial Parks. “And the beautiful thing about it is, when that production is done and the lights dim, it goes back to the very raw, unfinished space.”

When complete, the NPS expects the new exhibit to draw about one million visitors per year. It will also spotlight the underground architecture itself, which in 1922 was erected to give Lincoln his lofty perch above much of the nation’s capital.

NPS has slated July 4th, 2026, as the prospective opening date for the new museum, which will also mark the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 

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