News Release

Sculpture Preservation Continues with Annual Rock Block Monitor Calibration September 12 - 13

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Date: September 5, 2023
Contact: Earl Perez-Foust, 605-574-3115

KEYSTONE, SD –– Beginning September 12, visitors may witness climbers rappelling and ascending across the sculpture. This is due to an annual re-calibration of specialized equipment that monitors changes in the rock to anticipate damages due to environmental shifts in temperature and erosion. This information has been collected since 1996 through a contract with RESPEC Engineering out of Rapid City, South Dakota. With a three-dimensional map and continual monitoring, park staff can quickly identify any changes in the sculpture and implement any needed remediations.

Imagine that you wanted to display a work of art, but that artwork was permanently outdoors. That is the challenge facing park staff for the Mount Rushmore sculpture. The sculpture is exposed to blazing sun, lightning, rain, hail, snow, and temperatures that vary more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (nearly 38 degrees Celsius) from season to season. How would you protect it? This seemingly impossible challenge that people have faced since sculpting began on Mount Rushmore in 1927. While the methods of accomplishing this task are evolving, the need for cooperation between experts in many fields has remained the same.

Today we know how the sculpture reacts to daily and seasonal temperature changes and can identify problems more easily than ever through modern scientific methods. No part of the sculpture has yet been damaged. Learn more about ongoing sculpture preservation on the park website.

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About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s more than 400 national park units and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at

Last updated: September 6, 2023

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Mailing Address:

13000 Highway 244
Building 31, Suite 1

Keystone, SD 57751


605 574-2523
Park information. Phones are answered from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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