Billionaire David Rubenstein has donated $10 million to support new repairs on the Jefferson Memorial. The donation, announced this week, will help fund new walkways, bathrooms, a visitor center, and exhibit space, according to WAMU and the Washington Post. It follows a more than $8 million project to remove black biofilm from the memorial.
“Hopefully what we’ll be able to do is make the experience of visiting the Jefferson Memorial even better than it has been,” said Rubenstein, per the Post. Underground educational areas on Thomas Jefferson are expected as part of the renovations. It has been two decades since the memorial’s underbelly has been significantly upgraded. The National Park Foundation is receiving the gift and says the new exhibits will examine “the complexity” of Jefferson’s life, which spanned 1743 to 1826. The U.S.’s third president, he owned over 600 enslaved people.
The monument opened in 1943. It was designed by architect John Russell Pope, who modeled the structure on Jefferson’s other buildings: Monitcello and the University of Virginia Rotunda. The nearby Tidal Basin is also slated for changes in the coming years because the basin sees regular flooding and is at risk from the impacts of climate change.