The National Park Service has announced it will be making a number of changes to the Jefferson Memorial.
Per Daily Mail:
The non-profit Trust that helped leverage $150 million to refurbish the national Mall says the D.C. monument to Thomas Jefferson will get new scrutiny and changes that stress the founder’s slave-holding past.
And the National Park Service, which administers the nation’s treasured national monuments, essentially confirmed the changes Monday when it praised efforts ‘to tell a more complete American story through the extraordinary places in our care.’
The Jefferson Memorial will include new information, explaining the former President was a slave owner and did not choose to release slaves during his time in office:
An exhibit alongside the Jefferson memorial, which recently went through a refurbishment, will go through changes to reflected the ‘complexity of who he was,’ according to the Trust – a reference to Jefferson’s status as both the author of the Declaration of Independence and someone who owned slaved during his lifetime and didn’t liberate them upon his death.
The changes follow the political ripples of the horrific event in Charlottesville, Virginia:
‘In the coming weeks and months, the physical symbols of American history and democracy will be scrutinized and challenged,’ the group’s president, Catherine Townsend, wrote supporters, the Washington Examiner reported.
‘When that happens, we will work with our partners to ensure the National Mall continues to be a vibrant and relevant place where Americans can learn about our history and imagine our future, together,’ she added.
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The renovation will also include a number of physical changes to the memorial’s walk paths and handicap accessibility:
National Mall and Memorial Parks Superintendent Gay Vietzke issued a statement on the project, which was described as an effort to boost accessibility.
‘The National Park Service, with the support of a host of partners, including the Trust for the National Mall, works tirelessly to tell a complete story of American history. Current exhibits at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial include content about slavery and Thomas Jefferson’s ownership of enslaved people,’ he said.
‘The National Park Service is currently designing a $4.3 million project that will improve access to the memorial, including new ramps, restrooms, a reconfigured elevator and exhibits. The final design, which will be completed by summer 2018, will continue to improve on the park’s efforts to present and share appropriate context and content in a way that all our visitors can access.’