National Park Service
Beneath the Lincoln Memorial is its “undercroft,” a cavernous area filled with rows of tall concrete columns and large expanses of open space that has long been hidden from the public — and soon, it will be the site of a new immersive museum.
On Monday, the National Park Service announced plans to create 15,000 square feet of exhibit space that will explore the history of President Abraham Lincoln and the memorial that honors him.
Construction for the project, which is estimated to cost $69 million, is expected to begin in March, the NPS said. It is scheduled to be completed in 2026, in time for the 250th anniversary of American independence.
The exhibit space will include floor-to-ceiling glass walls providing a view of the long-hidden undercroft and the pillars that support the memorial above it, along with an immersive theater presentation that will project images of historic events onto the foundations.
Visitors will learn how the memorial was constructed, as well as how the statue became an iconic backdrop for civil rights demonstrations. The museum will also highlight prominent figures who have the shaped the history of the memorial, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and singer Marian Anderson.
“For more than a century, the Lincoln Memorial has been the crucible of American democracy, an enduring platform for free speech, the site of civil protests that still shape society, and the scene of national celebrations,” said Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation, in a press statement.
“Thanks to generous donors, the National Park Service will ensure the Lincoln Memorial continues to make history for another 100 years,” he added.
The project will also include upgrades for other areas of the site, including new restrooms and a larger bookstore.