Lincoln Memorial, USA

A national monument dedicated to Abraham Lincoln


A view of the National Mall from the Washington Monument with the Lincoln Memorial and World War II Memorial by CyArkCyArk

Introducing the Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC stands as a tribute to the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, who carried the nation through the American Civil War and passed the abolition of slavery. The memorial was created by architect Henry Bacon who modeled the building off of the Parthenon in Greece, the birthplace of democracy. The 36 Doric columns, representing the 36 states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s assassination flank the building, which is also covered with friezes and relief sculptures. The central space is dominated by the seated statue of Lincoln, carved by the Piccirilli brothers and Daniel Chester French. The north and south rooms contain inscriptions from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and his Gettysburg Address as well as two murals painted by Jules Guerin.

Freedom March Faa Building (1963-08-28) by John DominisLIFE Photo Collection

Historic Context

As a young man, Abraham Lincoln was a hard working farmer and physical laborer. A plain speaker for plain folks, Lincoln blended his love of the written word with a strong work ethic and pursued a legal career, then a political one from the Illinois state legislature to the U.S. Congress. While there were plans to build a memorial for the 16th President as early as 1867, only two years after his assassination, the construction for the monument did not begin until 1915. The Lincoln Memorial officially opened to the public in 1922. The monument was meant to serve as a reminder of Lincoln’s upstanding values, as well as important virtues such as honesty and tolerance. Ironically, even though Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, the ceremony for the dedication of the memorial was entirely segregated. Over time, the monument has served as a symbol of the American Civil Rights Movement. The steps at the Lincoln memorial as well as the path leading up to the Reflecting Pool has been witness to monumental moments in American History including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's “I Have a Dream'' speech.

Lincoln Memorial at Night by CyArk and Chris MillbernCyArk

Lincoln Memorial Today

The Lincoln Memorial is administered by the National Park Service under its National Mall and Memorial Parks unit. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1966, and remains open to the public 24/7. The site is one of the most easily recognizable on the National Mall and is often featured in books, films, and television shows that take place in Washington D.C. 

President Abraham Lincoln, Washington D.C. President Abraham Lincoln, Washington D.C. (1865) by Mathew B. BradyThe J. Paul Getty Museum

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. As he led the country through the Civil War. He has been ranked by both scholars and the public as both the most influential and fair US president. Lincoln was born into a humble household at the Western frontier in Kentucky. A self-educated man, Lincoln dabbled in a number of different professions finally becoming a lawyer in Illinois. There he also became involved in politics and served in the Illinois House of Representatives for eight years. It was also in Illinois where Lincoln met his wife, Mary Todd, an educated woman from an established family who was instrumental in Lincoln’s rise to presidency. Before his presidency Lincoln advocated rapid modernization, the necessity for government support in economic growth, and he was opposed to the expansion of slavery. He is perhaps best known for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in the Southern states and therefore assisted in the fight to preserve the Union and end slavery. Lincoln was assassinated five days after the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia which marked the end of the Confederacy.

The statue of a seated Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial by CyArkCyArk

Expedition Overview

CyArk collaborated with  Pennsylvania-based forensics firm DJS Associates in 2013 to digitally preserve the memorial structure at its current condition. The team assisted in documenting the site through 3D laser scanning and high resolution digital photography. The conservation products developed after the documentation work, such as the orthophotos for architectural drawings, were used to complete the Historic Structure Report (HSR) for the monument. All of this work was completed under the auspices of the National Parks Service.

Lincoln Memorial view of the Washington Monument by CyArk and Chris MillbernCyArk

Additional Resources

For more information on this site, its history and additional resources relating to CyArk’s work please visit

CyArk Lincoln Memorial Resources.

Credits: Story

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This project was made possible by the following partners:

U.S. National Park Service

DJS Associates

Credits: All media
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