Making It Happen: Hosting Presidential Inaugurations

The National Mall and Memorial Parks are "America’s Front Yard." We host events large and small every year and millions of visitors from around the world. Held in the nation's capital since 1801, Presidential Inaugurations have changed and grown over the years. These events require the support of numerous partners and supporting agencies in the Washington, DC area. With many iconic locations that are used as the backdrop inauguration events, the National Park Service has been involved in the planning and support of presidential inaugurations for more than 80 years.

Ranger wearing a face mask and safety vest standing next to a fence near the Lincoln Memorial
Each inauguration, the National Park Service works closely with the organizers on safety and security planning and setup on park land.

NPS / Nate Adams

A Joint Effort

Presidential Inaugurations are one of the biggest events in the nation's capital involving many partners to assist with planning, setup, communicating inauguration information, and day-of event support to make the festivities a safe and enjoyable experience. Each inauguration is led by two key organizers that coordinate partner involvement.

Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies

Since 1901, and in accordance with the 20th Amendment of the US Constitution, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) has played a leading role in the organization of presidential inaugurations. It is a bipartisan team of Congressional representatives who are responsible for the planning and execution of inaugural ceremonies of the president-elect and vice-president elect of the United States at the Capitol.

Presidential Inaugural Committee

A Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) is a non-profit organization representing a president-elect following a presidential election. The PIC is responsible for organizing official inaugural events except for events held at the Capitol. It often includes organizing and funding inaugural parades, balls, and galas.

National Park Service Role in Presidential Inaugurations

Preserving Our Shared History

The National Park Service has been at the center of planning presidential inaugurations for more than 80 years. The National Park Service are responsible for the care, maintenance and preservation of some of the most important locations used during inaugurations, from viewing areas on the National Mall to the inaugural parade route on Pennsylvania Avenue to the site of the presidential reviewing stand near President's Park. Two administrative units of the National Park Service—National and Memorial Parks and President's Park—play an important role in planning inauguration event support in DC.

Working With Partners

As part of our role as caretaker of more than 1,000 acres of public greenspace in the nation’s capital, the National Park Service provides logistical support, advice, and planning for events on its property. Every four years, we support the presidential inauguration by working closely with the PIC and the JCCIC. U.S. Park Police work closely with other law enforcement and security agencies during the inauguration to address safety and security issues for inauguration events.

Preserving Access to Public Spaces

Though the inauguration is among the largest events handled by the National Park Service, it is only one of more than 3,000 permitted events held on the National Mall each year that range from small annual commemorations to Independence Day on the Mall and large-scale First Amendment demonstrations. For all these events, the National Park Service staff work with permit holders, like the PIC, to ensure that their plans protect the natural and cultural resources on park land and ensure the safety and enjoyment of participants. For an events like presidential inaugurations, hundreds of National Park Service employees coordinate event support for visitors, such as providing emergency services, construction of reviewing stands, bringing in hundreds of portable toilets, and setting up miles of fencing.

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Last updated: January 18, 2021