Washington Monument Reopens to the Public May 12

The monument was damaged by a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that occurred Aug. 23, 2011, from a fault located in Virginia.

The Washington Monument, a 555-foot obelisk located on the national mall in Washington, D.C., will reopen to the public on May 12. The National Park Service and the Trust for the National Mall recently announced that Al Roker, the TODAY show's weather anchor, will join Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, philanthropist David Rubenstein, and National Mall & Memorial Parks Superintendent Bob Vogel at a celebration of the reopening, with Roker serving as master of ceremonies. The celebration will begin at 10 a.m., and the first public tours of the monument will begin at 1 p.m.

This United States Park Police photo shows a crack in the outer façade near the top of the Washington Monument. It was caused by the Aug. 23, 2011, earthquake.The monument has been closed to the public since Aug. 23, 2011, when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake significantly damaged it.

"The construction of the Washington Monument began in 1848 when private citizens raised money to build a memorial to honor our nation's first president, and now it has been repaired thanks in part to the generosity of another private citizen, David Rubenstein, and the efforts of the Trust for the National Mall," Jewell said. "This enduring spirit of public-private partnerships has made it possible for visitors to once again enjoy the monument and its unmatched view of Washington, D.C."

Tickets to take a tour will be available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 8:30 a.m. May 12 at the Washington Monument Lodge on 15th Street, between Madison and Jefferson Drives.

"We're looking forward to a great event and a meaningful day as we unveil the efforts of the past two and a half years," said Vogel. "The Washington Monument is looking spectacular, inside and out, and we can't wait to share that with the public."

EarthCam, Inc. worked with the National Park Service to document the monument's restoration, using the company's GigapixelCam. EarthCam's hand-edited, time-lapse video made from thousands of images taken from March 2013 to April 2014 is available here.

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