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.