Enhanced Exhibit Space at Lincoln Memorial

Cross section of the Lincoln Memorial showing new exhibit space
Cross section of the Lincoln Memorial showing new exhibit space.

Quinn Evans

This project will create 15,000 squre feet of exhibit space that tells amore complete story of the Lincoln Memorial and proides a look at the structure's foundations in a cavernous area known as the undercroft. New museum exhibits and multi-media presentations will highlight the construction history of the memorial and discuss how the Lincoln Memorial has become the nation's foremost backdrop for civil rights demonstrations. The project also includes new restrooms, a larger bookstore, and replacement of the existing elevator as well as the addition of a second elevator.

The undercroft of the Lincoln Memorial is a tall grid of concrete columns surrounded by large expanses of open space. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls will provide a view of the undercroft, and an immersive theater presentation will project images of historic events onto the foundations. Visitors will also learn about the significance of the site as an international icon dedicated to the achievements of Abraham Lincoln and individuals such as Marian Anderson and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who have shaped the history of the memorial.

The public-private partnership project was first announced in 2016 with an $18.5 million donation from businessman and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein. Including Rubenstein’s donation, to-date, the National Park Foundation has contributed more than $43 million to fund the project, with $38.5 million gifted from private donors including the John L. Nau, III Foundation; Rick L. and Vicki L. James Foundation; Citadel founder and CEO Kenneth C. Griffin; and Glenn W. Bailey Foundation. The National Park Service has invested more than $26 million toward the project.

Access to the memorial, including the steps and chamber with the statue of Abraham Lincoln, will remain open to the public during the construction. The basement area exhibits, restrooms and elevator will close this spring, however temporary restrooms, bookstore and a handicapped accessible lift will be available for the duration of the work.

Lincoln Memorial, National Mall and Memorial Parks

Last updated: January 19, 2024