April 27 is the 193rd anniversary of the birth of Ulysses S. Grant, and coincidentally it marks the beginning of conservation efforts to restore the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial to its original glory. The Memorial is the largest statuary group in Washington, D.C., and the sculpture of Grant is among the largest equestrian statues in the world.
The care of the Grant Memorial was transferred to the Architect of the Capitol in late 2011. Weather and time have not been kind, and upon transfer, the AOC addressed immediate safety issues and repaired the most visibly deteriorated conditions throughout Union Square.
The preservation effort begins with the conservation of the nine bronze sculptural elements. Fencing and scaffolding will surround the sculptural groups. The conservation will include cleaning, waxing, repairing and conserving the existing bronze, and providing new bronze castings of sixty-one missing or broken items. Initial stone work will include the cleaning and removal of patina bronze deposits from seven marble monument pedestals.
Getting the memorial restored to its original brilliance before the bicentennial of Grant's birth in 2022 – a century after its dedication – will properly honor this American hero. The conservation of the memorial demonstrates the AOC's commitment to preserve and care for our national treasures for current and future generations.
Learn more about the Grant Memorial Restoration Project at aoc.gov/grant.