Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any significance in the number of step leading up to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial chamber or to the number of columns surrounding the memorial?

No. There is no significance to either number. The chief symbolic features of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial are in the stone materials used and the statuary elements.

What is the reason for why so many different types of stone were used in the construction of the memorial?

The architects and builders of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial chose the stones not only for their aesthetic appeal but also for what they help to symbolize. The outer stonework is Vermont Imperial Danby marble, while the interior walls are white Georgia marble; this symbolizes the geographic extremes of the original 13 states from New England to the Deep South. Inside, we find stone from an expanding Union--floor marble from Tennessee and inner dome limestone from Indiana. Since President Jefferson remains tied to the Louisiana Purchase, his bronze statue stands atop a large block of Minnesota granite with a gray Missouri marble ring surrounding its base; parts of these states had been carved out of the Louisiana Purchase territory.

How tall is the Statue of Thomas Jefferson?

19 feet tall.

Are there any interesting details about the statue?

Yes, there are several interesting stories associated with the statue. If one were to walk behind the Thomas Jefferson statue, several things appear to confirm Jefferson's love of the land and agriculture. See if you can find them when you visit the memorial! Another fascinating detail associated with the statue is a direct connection to World War II when the memorial was under construction. Since wartime metal rationing was something that could not be overcome, the original 1943 statue was made of plaster and coated with bronze-colored paint. When wartime rationing and restrictions were loosened in 1947, the bronze became available for the permanent statue.

When was Thomas Jefferson president?

Thomas Jefferson served as the third President of the United States from March 4, 1801 until March 4, 1809. He was the first president to be inaugurated in the new Federal Capital of Washington, D.C. He was inaugurated for each of his terms of office inside the new U.S. Capitol building.

What is the National Park Service’s role in Presidential Inaugurations?

The National Park Service maintains the National Mall (used for staging for the Inauguration), Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site (the parade route), and Lafayette Park (site of a news media reviewing stand opposite the presidential reviewing stand on White House grounds). The National Park Service has been directly involved in all inaugurations in Washington. D.C. for more than 70 years, since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president. The NPS also works in a support role to the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC), the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (AFIC) and the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC). The National Park Service also administers this nation's early inauguration sites from Federal Hall in New York City, site of George Washington's 1789 Inauguration, to Congress Hall in Philadelphia, the scene of Washington's 1793 and John Adams's 1797 inaugurations.

Last updated: April 13, 2018

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