WASHINGTON, D.C. – A popular Washington D.C. tourist site is getting a big makeover. A spokesperson for the National Mall said while the Thomas Jefferson Memorial is accessible, they’re trying to make it more accessible to all.
“It’s certainly a popular spot off the national mall,” said National Mall spokesperson Mike Litterst.
It’s one of Washington D.C.’s most recognizable spots. The large circular, open-air domed structure surrounded by marble columns makes the Thomas Jefferson Memorial stand out.
“It’s visited by millions of people every year,” added by Litterst.
It’s dedicated to one of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, who authored the Declaration of Independence. Inside the dome you’ll find a statue depicting Jefferson. Visitors here typically walk up the grand flight of stairs to reach the statue but the National Mall is looking to give these stairs a big makeover.
“As you can see there are no accessible ramps on the front side of the Memorial,” said Litterst. “Also if you approach from the front you have to go all the way to the back to access the ramps and come all the way back to the front so we’re going to put in some ramps on the front side. That will dramatically decrease the distance you have to cover if you’re in a wheelchair or scooter.”
But that’s not all. Inside the lower level of the memorial, they’re going to redo this space and make it more accessible and interactive. They hope these changes give visitors an easier and educational experience at this site.
“That not only goes for the physical access but also for the stories we tell in the museum,” said Litterst. “Thomas Jefferson is certainly a complex individual one of the things we’re going to do is examine the paradox of how the man who wrote ‘all men are created equal’ enslaved over 600 people in the course of his life. So we’ll be taking a fresh look at Thomas Jefferson and examining that crucial time period in American history.”
Construction should wrap up in November 2023. The Memorial will stay open during that time.