Washington, D.C.’s Thomas Jefferson Memorial is planned to be renovated and get a state-of-the-art museum, following its acceptance of $10 million in donation from billionaire David Rubenstein.
The memorial will have a new underground museum, along with repairs and other new sections such as walkways and bathrooms.
The donation “will dramatically improve the visitor experience at the Jefferson Memorial,” the National Park Foundation said in its press release on October 30.
“I’m pleased and honored to be able to help out in this relatively modest way,” Rubenstein said on Tuesday afternoon, while he was on the steps of the memorial, WAMU reported.
Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks for the National Park Service, explained that the museum space underneath the memorial was “in desperate need of refreshing,” adding that he expected the renovations to be finalized by 2023, which marks the 80th anniversary of the memorial’s dedication.
Rubenstein is not new to aiding National Mall landmarks. According to WAMU, the Washington Monument is among those that received donation from him ($7.5 million in the wake of the 2011 earthquake.)
Arlington House at Arlington National Cemetery received $12.3 million in 2014, the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial received $5.4 million in 2015, the Lincoln Memorial received $18.5 million in 2016 and the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument received $1 million in 2016. He later donated another $3 million to the Washington Monument for the modernization of its elevator.
Rubenstein is the co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group. The billionaire businessman describes his generous gifts as “patriotic philanthropy.”
“Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, played a central role in the creation of our country. Telling the story of his greatness along with his failings will enable visitors to better understand his genius and humanity. I am deeply honored and humbled to have this opportunity to help improve and restore this iconic memorial,” Rubenstein said, according to the press release by the National Park Foundation.
Located on the Tidal Basin, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial is one of four presidential memorials on the National Mall. It was dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943.