Washington Monument

Repairing an American icon.

As partners of the National Park Service, we aim to rehabilitate the commemorative stones in the stairwell and provide virtual access, modernize the elevator, and construct a new security screening facility.

The 193 commemorative stones require conservation to allow a compelling virtual tour of the historic stairwell. A modern, efficient, and safe elevator system is a biasic requirement for re-opening the Washington Monument and its observation deck. Visitor safety demands an enhanced, permanent security facility.

In 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Washington, D.C., which forced the closing of the Washington Monument due to significant damage. In January 2012, the Trust for the National Mall announced that then-Campaign for the National Mall Co-Chair David M. Rubenstein donated $7.5 million to match the funds allocated by Congress to repair the obelisk. The donation was the largest individual gift in the Trust's history, and the restoration work began in late 2012.

Throughout 2013, the Trust for the National Mall and the National Park Service oversaw the repair process following the extensive damage left behind by the earthquake. On July 8, 2013 David M. Rubenstein, alongside Trust for the National Mall President Caroline Cunningham, flipped the switch that brought the 500 tons of scaffolding encasing the Washington Monument to life with 488 glowing lamps. News cameras rolled while spectators watched in awe as the iconic landmark lit the skyline of the nation’s capital. The lighting ceremony is just one milestone that highlights the partnership between the Trust and the National Park Service that led to the restoration of the Washington Monument.

Trust photographer Colin Winterbottom documented the 2013 restoration of the Washington Monument. Take a look at his incredible photos below!