Located in Washington, DC, the Jefferson Memorial is a dome-shaped rotunda that honors our third president, Thomas Jefferson. A 19-foot bronze statue of Jefferson stands inside the rotunda, surrounded by passages from the Declaration of Independence and other writings.
History of the Jefferson Memorial
An international commission was appointed in 1934 to design an international memorial for Thomas Jefferson. In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt chose a site for the monument on the Tidal Basin, and John Russell Pope was chosen to design it. Pope's neoclassical design was built between 1938 and 1943 to symbolize worldwide peace.
Although not completed until after his death, President Roosevelt dedicated the Jefferson Memorial on April 13, 1943. A statue of Jefferson by Rudolph Evans was added to the memorial in 1947.
Who Was Thomas Jefferson?
Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States and the primary writer of the Declaration of Independence. He was also a member of the Continental Congress, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the first U.S. Secretary of State. Thomas Jefferson was a major figure in the American Revolution and one of the nation's most important Founding Fathers. The Memorial in Washington DC is one of the most visited attractions in the nation's capital.
Tips for When You're Visiting the Thomas Jefferson Memorial
The Jefferson Memorial is a popular attraction, and it's busy year-round. If you're visiting the memorial on a nice day, get there early to ensure you get a spot on the lawn to lay out a blanket and enjoy the views.
1. Enjoy the Panoramic Views
You can sit on the steps of the Memorial and see the sight across the Tidal Basin. To the left of the Jefferson Memorial, you can see the U.S. Capitol building, National Mall, and Washington Monument. You can also see the Lincoln Memorial in the distance.
Plan to spend some time sitting and enjoying the view. If you have time, rent a paddleboat near the Jefferson Memorial to enjoy the scenery from the water. There are a lot of stairs, but it's worth it.
2. Participate in a Ranger Program
Participate in a ranger program to learn about Thomas Jefferson and his impact on our nation's history. The Jefferson Memorial offers a variety of ranger programs, including an interesting program of lantern walks that take you through the memorial at night to see lighted quotes.
3. Check Out the Historical Exhibits and the Bookstore
When you visit the Jefferson Memorial, plan to walk through the exhibits on the lower level. The exhibits will provide you with more insight into Jefferson's life, and you can learn more about the evolution of democracy. You can also check out the bookstore on the first floor of the Memorial.
4. Visit Early in the Morning or After Dark
If you have time, visit the Jefferson Memorial before the crowds arrive. You'll have a chance to experience a peaceful sunrise without the masses. If you visit after dark, you'll get a better idea of the architecture of the Memorial.
5. Take Plenty of Pictures
One of the best views of the White House is right outside the Jefferson Memorial. The view is breathtaking, and you can take some really lovely photos. I recommend getting a picture of the memorial and the White House together.
Visiting the Jefferson Memorial is one of the best ways to learn about one of the most important figures in American history. The memorial is a peaceful place to learn about Jefferson, and it's one of the most beautiful memorials in D.C.
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