History & Culture
Visit the Ranger Journal Blog to learn about the park's history, culture, and nature!
About National Mall and Memorial Parks:
National Mall and Memorial Parks (NAMA) is responsible for more than 1,000 acres of parkland containing many of the United States' more significant natural and cultural resources. The sites of NAMA are cherished symbols of our nation, known worldwide and depicted on everything from currency to the nightly news. Located in the core of the Nation's Capital, NAMA administers, interprets, maintains, and preserves the Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, D.C. War Memorial, World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, George Mason Memorial, Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House, the National Mall, East and West Potomac Parks, Constitution Gardens, 60 statues, and numerous other historic sites, memorials, and parklands.
NAMA is responsible for significant maintenance and preservation support for the White House as well as the United States Navy Memorial. In addition, NAMA cares for numerous federal park reservations which serve as welcoming gateways for visitors entering the historic fabric of the original 1791 Federal City. Some of our reservations now provide homes for recent commemorative additions to the landscape of the Nation's Capital. The Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II and the Victims of Communism Memorial are but two of the many sites that help interpret the story of America's integral involvement in world history. Beyond all of this, NAMA remains tied to its roots.
NAMA's origins are as old as the capital city itself. The open spaces and parklands envisioned by Pierre L'Enfant's plan, which was commissioned by President George Washington, created an ideal stage for national expressions of remembrance, observance, celebration, and expression of First Amendment rights. With everything from colossal monuments to commemorative gardens, from presidential inaugurals to civil rights demonstrations, NAMA hosts history in the making. Numerous First Amendment activities and special events are held in the park each year. The park continues to evolve as Americans seek new ways to recognize our heritage.
NAMA contains more than 80 historic structures and over 150 major named historic parks, squares, circles and triangles. Park resources include the 2,000 American elms which line the Mall and the 3,000 internationally-renowned Japanese cherry trees which grace the Tidal Basin. Gardens that are botanical showplaces display thousands of tulips, pansies, and annuals in over 170 flower beds, and 35 ornamental pools and fountains range from the simple to the sublime. This impressive mingling of natural and cultural resources has made our Nation's Capital one of the more heavily visited and photographed places in the world.
NAMA offers Americans the opportunity to get in touch with our heritage. Thousands of school children, families, foreign visitors, veterans, and recreational users come to the park daily. They take advantage of interpretive programming presented by Park Rangers, park exhibits, publications, orientation services, and panoramic views from the Washington Monument and the Old Post Office Tower. White House, State Department and Congressional staffs use these same services to give foreign dignitaries exposure to American history and culture. NAMA is responsible for 43 ball fields where local clubs play softball, soccer, rugby, field hockey, volleyball, and polo. Other recreational opportunities, including jogging, biking, picnicking, golf, swimming, tennis, paddleboating, ice skating, and fishing, are enthusiastically pursued by city residents and visitors throughout the park.
The sites of National Mall and Memorial Parks are a testament to America's past and present where the values of our nation are presented in a masterful blending of formal history and tradition and informal contemporary life.
Did You Know?
Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I Have A Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. There, you can find an engraving marking the spot where he stood.