It’s Abraham Lincoln’s birthday this month, in a sense.
The Lincoln Memorial, one of the most recognizable and visited sites in the United States, is turning 100 this month, and the National Parks Service is in the midst of celebrating the monument’s centennial with a series of events.
“As one of the most recognized buildings in the world, the Lincoln Memorial has become a symbol of the United States of America, a backdrop for national celebrations, and the nation’s preeminent stage for the rallies and demonstration, particularly those for civil rights,” the NPS said in a release.
To mark the milestone, the NPS has scheduled a series of commemorative activities to “reflect on 100 years of honoring the legacy of Abraham Lincoln.”
The actual centennial celebration will take place at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 22. It will highlight the meaning behind the memorial, from its beginnings in 1922 to its evolution into a national symbol of civil rights.
A wide range of speakers, entertainers, and scholars will take part in the event on the steps of the memorial. The United States Marine Quintet will also be on hand to perform.
Events began earlier this month leading up to the anniversary of its dedication. Among the highlights still to come:
Lincoln Memorial Centennial Family Day
Taking place Saturday, May 14, staff from local historic sites will offer hands-on activities that connect to the memorial’s history. Taking place from 10 a.m.–1 p.m., participants can also earn a special commemorative Junior Ranger badge.
Lincoln Memorial In Pop Culture
Also taking place on Saturday, May 14, this event will explore the many times the memorial has shown up and played a role in movies, television, and other entertainment. Hosted by NPR’s Faith Salie, the 7:30 p.m. event at the Sylvan Theater will reflect on some of the best-known uses of the memorial in art and how they have shaped the cultural meaning of the memorial over the years.
Words Count: Marian Anderson At The Lincoln Memorial
Set for Monday, May 16, at 11 a.m., this event will recall Marian Anderson’s 1939 Easter Sunday concert put on at the memorial. The singer was denied access to an indoor venue, so she sang instead at the memorial and drew in an excess of 75,000 spectators. That event transformed the memorial into a civil rights landmark and set the stage for Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech decades later.
Commemorating Abraham Lincoln Through Oratory
Taking place Tuesday and Wednesday, May 17 and 18, local students from Ford’s Lincoln Oratory Festival will perform speeches by Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Mary McLeod Bethune, and others from the steps of the memorial. The event begins at 11 a.m. on both days.
Treasures Of The Library Of Congress
On Thursday, May 19, the Library of Congress will display some of its top treasures related to the memorial in the Great Hall. Admission is free, but timed-entry tickets are required.
In addition to the events planned by the NPS, partners have several of their own to mark the centennial. The Trust for the National Mall, the National Park Foundation, and about 50 other nonprofits affiliated with the memorial have scheduled a variety of activities.
Catch up on last week’s travel news: