News & Politics

The Jefferson Memorial Will Soon Be Free of Scaffolding

The $15 million renovation project to remove black biofilm is almost done.

Photograph courtesy the National Park Service.

After more than two years of work, the dome of the Jefferson Memorial is once again visible, as the $15 million renovation project nears its conclusion. Some of the scaffolding has already been removed, and the remainder is scheduled to be taken down shortly, according to WTOP.

The project began in February of 2019, after officials at the National Park Service noticed that the monument’s dome had been darkened by a black biofilm consisting of fungi, algae, and bacteria. 

To restore the dome’s gleam, the Park Service deployed an innovative laser cleaning process that can clear away the biofilm without damaging the marble. But it’s a slow process. According to WJLA, each laser operator can only clean about two square feet per hour. The Jefferson Memorial’s dome is 10,682 square feet in size.

For a sense of what the Jefferson Memorial’s newly polished dome looks like, check out this footage from WJLA.

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.