Philanthropist Gives $18.5M to Fix Up Lincoln Memorial

'I’m very honored as an American to be able to contribute in this way'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2016 3:48 PM CST
Philanthropist Gives $18.5M to Fix Up Lincoln Memorial
The undercroft of the Lincoln Memorial is seen during a tour in Washington, Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, after a ceremony announcing David Rubenstein's gift to the National Park Foundation's Centennial Campaign for America's National Parks.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The Lincoln Memorial will be getting a much-needed facelift in the coming years thanks to an $18.5 million donation from one history-loving philanthropist, CNN reports. "Lincoln deserves to have his memorial in tip-top shape," David Rubenstein tells the AP. The president of the National Park Foundation admits to the Washington Post the nearly 100-year-old memorial has gotten a bit "run-down" since it first opened. The Park Service plans to use the Rubenstein's donation to clean the memorial, fix its roof, update its restrooms, make its exhibit area 20 times larger, restore its murals, and install an elevator to improve access. The restoration project will also allow visitors to see below the monument, where the original builders left charcoal graffiti, including a caricature of President Taft.

“I’m very honored as an American to be able to contribute in this way,” the Post quotes Rubenstein during the announcement of his donation Monday. The project is likely to be the biggest renovation to the Lincoln Memorial, which receives 7 million visitors per year, since it opened. In the past, Rubenstein has donated more than $40 million to repair the Washington Monument, US Marine Corps War Memorial, the White House Visitor Center, James Madison's home, and the Arlington House. He even gave $9 million to help the National Zoo keep its pandas. The Park Service currently has $12 billion in repairs it's been putting off. The National Park Foundation expects to raise about $100 million in donations this year. (More uplifting news stories.)

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