If you’ve paid a visit to the Capitol Hill Hotel recently, you have undoubtedly noticed all the construction around the neighborhood. The United States Capitol building is draped with dark scaffolding, and The Smithsonian is erecting another intriguing museum. There are even whispers of additional projects, like an Eisenhower Memorial.
Unfortunately, people haven’t even been able to walk up to the word famous White House fence that runs along Pennsylvania Avenue. But with so many exciting elements of restoration and refinement, we know you’re itching to take a peek over the fence and discover exactly what’s happening on the National Mall.
U.S. Capitol Building Restoration
One of the major points of construction on the National Mall is the restoration of the United States Capitol building’s iconic dome. According to the Architect of the Capitol, this is standard upkeep after a half century of wear since the dome’s last complete restoration. Currently, the Capitol’s dome—an unmissable feature on the D.C. skyline—is covered in unattractive metal scaffolding. It’s believed that within the year, the scaffolding will be removed and a new, polished dome will once again shine white and bright for all of D.C.
The effort to raise President Dwight D. Eisenhower to memorial-status with his fellow leaders Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington has been in the works since 1999. When complete, the Eisenhower Memorial will include a sculpture series with three distinct physical depictions of Eisenhower, a collection of stainless steel tapestries to mark the contemporary memorial grounds, and an electronic memorial with digitized, interactive technology. The memorial is slated to be revealed sometime in 2017.
National Museum of African American Culture and History
The Smithsonian has procured a coveted space on the National Mall for its long-overdue National Museum of African American Culture and History. Most construction is taking place on Constitution Avenue and 14th Street. Tucked squarely between the National Museum of American History and the Washington Monument, the NMAAHC Building will be conveniently located for tourists’ standard National Mall walkabout. The museum’s planned exhibitions, ceremonies, and performances will sustain and celebrate the nation’s African American heritage.
White House North Fence Restoration
The sidewalk along Pennsylvania Avenue is favorite stop for travelers, as it provides the best possible view of the White House: without taking a tour. The North Fence is set directly in front of the building’s famous facade, and it’s currently being restored. For the time being, visitors are set back to a makeshift fence. When the project concludes this spring, however, visitors and guests of the Capitol Hill Hotel will be able to pose for pictures in front of the new, retouched fence, with the White House shining in the background.
All aspects of the National Mall’s facelift, from the gray scaffolding to the provisional fence, may seem like a nuisance now. But in fact, they are all signs of the city’s great efforts to revive and develop our country’s most important landmarks.