Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

National Mall, Washington, DC

The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial anchors the east end of the National Mall in Washington DC, and is meant to balance the Lincoln Memorial at the west end. The figure of Grant is the largest equestrian sculpture in the United States, and together with the grand Artillery and Cavalry groups at the north and south along with four lions, may be the largest collection of cast bronzes in a single monument.

In addition to the normal deterioration that outdoor bronze sculptures display, these works have suffered from periodic climbing and abuse they receive from the many visitors to the site. Public events, including Presidential inaugurations, have lead to floods of visitors perching on the bronzes, resulting in abrasion and losses of detailed castings. Well-meaning, if inexpert, previous repairs have negatively impacted the long term preservation of the works and many smaller elements are now lost or poorly repaired. Copper run-off from the corroding bronzes has marred the white marble bases.

We assessed the conditions of the bronzes and tested cleaning methods for the marble as part of a comprehensive assessment and development of a restoration plan. All bronzes were carefully studied and documented, historic research was performed, and drawings prepared detailing all losses and conditions. Tests for cleaning biological and metallic staining were performed and documented. The findings were provided in a report with specific recommendations and baseline treatment documentation.

We were then retained by the Architect of the Capitol to prepare contract documents to implement study results. All bronze and stone elements were resurveyed and full construction documents, were developed with KCCT Architects.