Lincoln Memorial

Audio Available:

OVERVIEW: About this audio-described brochure

Welcome to the audio-described version of the Lincoln Memorial's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that visitors to the Lincoln Memorial receive. The brochure explores the construction of the memorial, information on Abraham Lincoln's life and presidency and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about [NUMBER] minutes which we have divided into thirteen sections, as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections two three and four cover the front of the brochure and include information regarding Lincoln The Man. Sections five through eleven cover the back of the brochure which consists of Lincoln as President, Construction of the Memorial and Visitation.  Sections twelve and thirteen contain information about accessibility and where to find more information.

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OVERVIEW: Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, located in the District of Columbia, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The Memorial honoring the 16th president sits at the extreme west end of the National Mall, opposite of the Capitol Building two miles to the east. Dedicated in 1922 by President Harding, the Lincoln Memorial is the most visited site on the National Mall. Entered from the east, the front of the Memorial overlooks the reflecting pool towards the Washington Monument and, beyond, the Capitol Building. The Memorial is bounded by the Potomac River to the west, opposite Arlington National Cemetery and the Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial. We invite you to enjoy the site's quiet contemplation in the early hours, explore the interior chamber featuring the text of two of Lincoln's most famous speeches, or stand in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Marian Anderson, connecting the Memorial's historical significance to civil rights and first amendment demonstrations. For those seeking to learn more about the Park during their visit, visit the informational kiosks on the north and south ends of the Lincoln Memorial Plaza. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.
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OVERVIEW: Front side of brochure

The front of the brochure includes text and a full color photograph of the Lincoln Memorial with the reflecting pool extending below the first fold.  The image is capped on top and bottom with black bars. The top bar reads “Lincoln Memorial, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.”.  The National Park Service arrowhead sits to the right of the text. In the center of the image is a portion of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Just above the black bar at the bottom of the photo there is small black text in two columns introducing “Lincoln-the Man”.

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IMAGE and QUOTE: Lincoln Memorial

DESCRIBING: A large vertical photograph of the Lincoln Memorial at night covering the entire front side of the brochure, with a quote and a text block overlaying the bottom half of the image. 

DESCRIPTION:  This full color photograph shows the Lincoln Memorial at night, as seen from the reflecting pool. The evening sky behind the memorial fades from light fuchsia at the top to deep plum closer to the horizon. Greenish lights can be seen illuminating the black outlines of buildings of the city skyline in the distance. The top quarter of the page is filled mainly by the memorial itself. The memorial is a white rectangular structure, designed to resemble an ancient Greek temple. It is fronted by 12 columns that bulge slightly in the middle before tapering at the top and bottom. These columns support a large marble roof with a smaller rectangular attic perched on top of it.  Engravings of eagles with their wings outstretched are connected by a carved garland of leaves, draped  across the top edge of this attic. This detail work is visible in the golden glow of spotlights cast upward from the lower roof. 

The lower rectangle of the building contains the main chamber of the memorial. The white marble is visible in the golden lights being cast down behind the columns. This divides the memorial into three sections, with the outer thirds strongly illuminated and the center third much darker. The front wall of the memorial opens behind the center four columns, revealing the illuminated statue of President Lincoln seated within. This statue is centered between the middle two columns of the memorial and is lit by the same golden light as the outside of the building. 

The monument appears to float in darkness, elevated from the water of the Reflecting Pool, a long rectangular body of water in front of the memorial. Light from the memorial reflects in the pink and orange water that takes up the bottom three-quarters of the photograph and extends from the first fold to the bottom of the image. The surface of the Reflecting Pool is gently ruffled by the wind.

CREDIT: Robert Lautman.

QUOTE:  "It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." – Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863.


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TEXT: Lincoln- the Man

Lincoln, The Man: Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809, in a log cabin near Hodgenville, Kentucky. He became the 16th President of the United States, leading his country through its greatest trial, the Civil War. His life was full of personal tragedy and disappointment, but his belief in the principles of the Declaration of Independence and his experience gained as a state legislator, lawyer, and Congressman, along with a whimsical sense of humor, gave him the strength to endure. Throughout his political career Lincoln strove to maintain the ideals of the nation’s founders. He saw slavery as hypocritical for a nation founded on the principle that “all men are created equal.” In an 1854 speech Lincoln said: “I hate it [slavery] because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world—enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites.” As President he used the power of the office to preserve the Union. In freeing the slaves Lincoln left a legacy to freedom that is one of the most enduring birthrights Americans possess.

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OVERVIEW: Back side of brochure

The back of the brochure includes a full page photograph of the statue of Lincoln inside the memorial, illuminated at night. Information on Lincoln as a President is located at the top of the brochure, while information on the construction of the memorial and visiting the memorial can be found at the bottom of the brochure. Small black and white historic images are nested within the text about construction and visitation.
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IMAGE: Lincoln Memorial Statue

DESCRIBING: A large vertical photograph of the Lincoln statue at night. 

DESCRIPTION:  This night time photograph of the statue within the Lincoln Memorial is only visible from the knees up, as shadowed outlines of visitors obscure the bottom of his legs. The background of the photo is dark, with the statue of Lincoln carved into bright creamy marble visible in the golden light. Lincoln is shown sitting in a boxy and harsh looking chair. The back of the chair extends up to Lincoln's lower back with the arms of that chair extending forward at the same level. The arms of this chair are carved with an element called "fasces"--a bundle of rods held together by a slender leather strap representing a single object that is stronger than the individual parts that make it. 

The contrast between light and dark allows the detail to appear in Lincoln’s mussed hair, which is short and receding slightly around a widow’s peak.

His face is crossed by deep-set lines around his slightly down turned mouth and the curls carved into the marble illustrating his chinstrap beard are visible. The statue shows Lincoln's right arm extended across the arm of the chair, his hand is open and relaxed, his long fingers hanging over the edge of the arm of the chair. The play of light thrown from the lights above reveals the detail the sculptors achieved in carving the knuckles and nails of the hand. Lincoln’s left arm is also extended across the arm of the chair, only his left hand is clenched into a fist. Lincoln’s suit is rumpled, the coat is open to reveal a vest—equally rumpled—beneath it. His bow tie is slightly crooked at the neck of his buttoned shirt. He does not slump in the chair, but he also doesn’t sit straight.

CREDIT: Bill Weems


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TEXT: Lincoln- the President

Lincoln--The President. By condemning slavery’s expansion and maintaining that he would not interfere with it where it already existed, Lincoln won the presidential nomination of the Republican Party in 1860. Upon his electoral victory, seven states of the lower South seceded and formed the Confederate States of America. At his inauguration in March 1861 Lincoln implored the South to show restraint and tried to dispel its mistrust, but he also pledged to do whatever was necessary to preserve the Union. The South responded by firing on Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, April 12, 1861. Lincoln in turn, issued the call for troops to put down the rebellion, and four more states in the Upper South—Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee— seceded. The result was four years of bloody conflict. In January 1863 Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to free slaves within the states in rebellion, thus raising the war to a higher moral plane. In January 1865 he secured Congressional approval of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery in the United States. In his Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865, Lincoln offered peace and reconciliation to the South. He was shot by an assassin on April 14, 1865, and died the next day—six days after Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his troops at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.


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Text: Building the Memorial

 Congress incorporated the Lincoln Monument Association in March 1867 to build a memorial to the slain President, but no progress was made until 1901 when the McMillan Commission chose a West Potomac Park site for the memorial. This decision expanded on the ideas of Pierre L’Enfant, who designed the Federal City and envisioned an open mall area from the Capitol to the Potomac River. Congress agreed on a design submitted by New York architect Henry Bacon, and construction began on February 12, 1914. Daniel Chester French designed the statue; the Piccirilli Brothers of New York carved it. It is 19 feet tall and 19 feet wide and made from 28 marble blocks. Murals, painted by Jules Guerin depicting principles evident in Lincoln’s life, are on the north and south walls above inscriptions of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address. Ernest Bairstow sculpted other features with the assistance of Evelyn Beatrice Longman. The building is constructed primarily of Colorado Yule marble and Indiana limestone. The 36 columns around the memorial represent the states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death; their names are carved in the frieze. Names of the 48 states in the Union when the memorial was completed in 1922 are carved in the exterior attic walls. A plaque in the plaza commemorates the admission of Alaska and Hawaii. President Warren G. Harding dedicated the memorial on May 30, 1922. Robert Moton, president of Tuskegee Institute, gave the principal address at the dedication. Robert Todd Lincoln, the President’s only surviving son, attended the ceremony.

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IMAGE: Lincoln Memorial Under Construction

DESCRIBING: A small horizontal photograph in black and white shows the memorial under construction.

DESCRIPTION: The half-completed memorial sits in the center of the photo against a blank, pale sky. The broad side of the back of the memorial faces the camera at a slight angle, with completed columns of the short side just visible on the left. The right half of the monument is still under heavy construction, with the columns encased in a lattice of scaffolding. The monument appears to float on a dark gray concrete pillar, slightly narrower than the base of the memorial visible to the public today. The roof has not yet been built above the columns. Two thin cranes extend above the structure and out of the frame of the image. Cables cross from these tall structures out of frame. More cables can be seen in the foreground being anchored to objects in the construction yard. Carved and shaped blocks of pure white marble are laid out among five small wood framed buildings making up the construction yard.  A scaffold containing four flights of stairs rise from the ground up to the memorial to allow workers to access the marble columned monument.

CREDIT: Library of Congress


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Text: Visiting the Memorial

RELATED TEXT: The memorial is open daily except December 25. Park rangers are available to answer questions, give talks, and provide information. Books and educational materials may be purchased in the bookstore on the chamber level. For visitors with disabilities, restrooms and chamber access are in the lower level. Lincoln Memorial is one of more than 380 parks in the National Park System. The National Park Service cares for these special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage. To learn about national parks and National Park Service programs, visit www.n p s.gov.

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IMAGE: Portrait of Daniel C. French and Henry Bacon at the Memorial

DESCRIBING: A small vertical historic black and white photograph discolored with age.

DESCRIPTION: This sepia-toned, vertical photograph shows two men standing side by side at the front of the memorial. Behind the man on the left, a portion of one of the immense white columns of the memorial is visible. Between the men, the sculpture of Lincoln is partially obscured by the gloom of the memorial's inner chamber. 

 The man on the left stands with his right shoulder towards the camera, facing his companion. This man is identified as Daniel Chester French, the sculptor of the Lincoln statue. French has thin hair and a receding hairline, leaving the top of his head bald. A mustache lies beneath his hooked nose. He wears a slightly wrinkled suit jacket over a vest and white, collared shirt. The high collar is secured with a dark bow-tie. His pants match the suit, and he holds a round, brimmed hat with a deep crease in his right hand against his leg. His feet are planted over hip-width apart. 

The man on the right is Henry Bacon, architect of the Memorial. Bacon stands slightly angled towards French, but he faces the camera. He also wears a dark suit, though it is less rumpled than French’s. His white shirt collar rises nearly to his chin and is broken by a dark tie tucked into his suit vest. His coiffed hair rises from a severe side part. His hair and mustache are both light in color--whether blonde or graying is uncertain. He holds his hat in his right hand, largely obscured by his right leg and jacket. It is dark like his suit with a light colored hat band. His left hand hangs by his side, with a flash of shirt sleeve showing from under his dark jacket sleeve.

CAPTION: Daniel Chester French, sculptor and Henry Bacon, architect, at the memorial. 

CREDIT: NPS


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OVERVIEW: Accessibility

The Lincoln Memorial and the other National Mall sites provide braille brochures free of charge to onsite visitors. A large print version of the Gettysburg Address is also available at the Lincoln Memorial. Please see the park ranger on site to pick up a copy of either brochure, or please feel free to email us or call (202) 426-6841 to provide advance notice of your visit.

We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For more information about our services, please ask a ranger, call, or check on our website.

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OVERVIEW: More information

Lincoln Memorial is one of over 400 areas in the National Park System. To learn more, visit, www.nps.gov.

ADDRESS: 900 Ohio Drive SW Washington, DC 20024

PHONE:  (202) 426-6841

WEBSITE: www.nps.gov/linc

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