Dedicated to the third president of the United States, and author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, this iconic memorial rests in the heart of the Tidal Basin and is surrounded by cherry trees. Constructed by John McShane and designed by John Russell Pope, the building was completed in 1943 and the large bronze sculpture of Jefferson was added in 1947.
The memorial sits next to the circular tidal basin and features a half-circular open rotunda, with an enclosed dome, and open portico all mimicking the Pantheon of Rome. Inside the memorial visitors can tour the 19-foot tall statue of Jefferson, by sculptor Rudulph Evans, looking stoically towards the White House. On the inside walls of the memorial are panels with famous quotes from the president. On the back wall of the memorial are excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, from the original draft written by Jefferson. There is also a panel with an excerpt from “A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, 1777” on the northwest interior wall, and various quotes from different documents and historical time frames are found on the northeast interior wall.
For those visiting the monument for the first time there is a visitors’ center and store downstairs where park service staff also show a short video about Jefferson’s contributions to US History and a timeline about his life. Guided tours are also led around the monument daily. Restrooms and water fountains are also available to visitors in this location.