Welcome to the audio-described version of Mount Rushmore National Memorial’s official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that visitors to Mount Rushmore receive. The brochure provides information about the history of the memorial and trip planning information.
This audio version lasts about 30 minutes and is divided into 19 sections. Sections one through eight cover the front side of the brochure and provide information a brief biography of the four men carved on Mount Rushmore, a timeline of the carving process and basic facts. Sections eight through 19 cover the back side of the brochure and provide a map of the memorial grounds, information about things to see and do, safety and natural history.
The front of the brochure contains a large photograph of the Mount Rushmore Memorial, brief biographies of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, and a timeline that tells the story of the creation of the memorial. This side of the brochure contains cultural and historical information about the site.
A black bar runs horizontally across the top of the brochure and contains large text in the left corner that reads: Mount Rushmore. The right side of the bar contains the text "Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota, National Park Service, US Department of the Interior." In the far-right corner is the National Park Service's brown arrowhead logo. Below the black bar, there is a the photograph of the memorial that takes up the top half of the brochure. Brief biographies of the presidents run across the middle of the brochure. Signatures of each president lie below the biographies. The timeline that tells the story of the memorial encompasses the bottom half of the brochure and contains historical and contemporary photographs.
A color photograph that spans the width of the brochure.
The faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln sculpted into the side of a mountain rockface from left to right with blue sky above.
The four presidents occupy a "U" shaped indentation in the top of a light-colored flat-topped mountain. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln form two shoulders sticking out. Washington is on the left and occupies one shoulder of the mountain, sticking out the furthest into the valley. He is looking up and to the left. Below his face, a shirt collar and jacket lapel are sculpted into the rock. Thomas Jefferson is to his right. Jefferson is looking up and over Washington's right shoulder. Theodore Roosevelt is to Jefferson's right and appears be looking slightly down. Abraham Lincoln is to Roosevelt's right. He appears to be looking past Washington's shoulder. Below the sculpted faces, there are many striated rows that appear blasted into the granite. These rows form rough-shaped shoulders and an arm for Washington. The mountain sits under a blue sky containing a wispy white cloud. Below the sculptures, the tips of the tops of green ponderosa pine trees poke into the bottom of the frame.
Image is credited to PAT AND CHUCK BLACKLEY.
On Washington's chest a quote is overlaid which reads:
Let us place there, carved high, as close to heaven as we can, the words of our leaders, their faces, to show posterity what manner of men they were. Then breathe a prayer that these records will endure until the wind and the rain alone shall wear them away.
A small black and white photograph of George Washington's signature.
A scanned image of George Washington's signature in a light gray color. It is written in cursive English as "G Washington" with a small circle above the letter W and a looping mark above the letter t. The signature is ornate, yet looks to have been written fairly quickly.
The most distinctive letter in the signature is the intricate capital G. The president added an additional loop to the bottom of the letter for the aesthetics. The small perfect circle above the W is also a unique decorative feature.
The image is credited to NPS.
Accompanying text reads:
Sculptor Gutzon Borglum selected the four presidents to be memorialized on Mount Rushmore. George Washington was a natural first choice. He commanded the Continental Army in the American Revolution, building a cohesive fighting force that won independence from Great Britain. Unanimously elected first US president, he served two terms and laid the foundation for today’s democracy.
Washington was the first figure started and, because his face is in higher relief than the others, remains the most prominent.
A small black and white photograph of Thomas Jefferson's signature.
The signature is light gray. It is written in cursive with "T H Jefferson" visible. The letters are tall and narrow and are tilted slightly to the right with long loops on the letters "T", "J" and "F". The handwriting is neat and easily legible.
The most distinctive letter in the signature is the capital R in Roosevelt. The letter is angled to the right at about 45 degrees.
The image is captioned to the NPS.
Accompanying text reads: Served 1801–09
In 1776 Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, a document that continues to inspire our nation today and encourage democracies around the world.
He was Secretary of State under George Washington. As the third president, he spearheaded the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803. This doubled the size of the country, adding all or part of fifteen present-day states, including South Dakota.
A small, black-and-white photograph of Theodore Roosevelt's signature.
The signature is grey and faint. The words are written in cursive English, but there are spaces between most of the letters in the first name. The letters are small and difficult to read individually but can be understood as a whole. There is no middle name or initial in the signature. The first letters of both words are capitalized.
The most distinctive letter in the signature is the capital R in Roosevelt. The letter is angled to the right at about 45 degrees.
The image is credited to the NPS.
Accompanying text reads:
The youngest man to become president, Theodore Roosevelt led the nation into the 1900s. He was instrumental in negotiating the construction of the Panama Canal, linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. He earned the nickname ”Trust Buster” for his work abolishing corporate monopolies and ensuring the rights of ordinary citizens. He championed conservation legislation and set aside millions of acres of public land.
Borglum greatly admired the 26th president and considered him a friend.
A small, black-and-white photograph of Abraham Lincoln's signature.
The signature is grey and faint. The words are written in cursive English, meaning the letters in each word are connected. Every letter is clear and easily distinguished. The handwriting is neat and easy to read. There is no middle name or initial in the signature. The first letters of both words are capitalized.
The signature is simple, yet loopy. The most distinctive letters in the signature are the capital A and capital L. These letters stand out as the more intricate and beautiful parts of the signature. The image is credited to the NPS.
Text related to this signature reads:
Abraham Lincoln took office on the eve of the nation’s greatest trial and devoted his presidency to ending the Civil War and restoring the Union. In 1862 he issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, the first step toward ending slavery. His 1863 Gettysburg Address is still one of the most compelling American speeches. Lincoln died on April 15, 1865, shot by an assassin.
Widely considered one of the greatest Americans, Lincoln was a favorite portrait subject for Gutzon Borglum.
A rectangular spread of six images with accompanying text. The description will identity the images first then move on to the text.
First image: A small, oval, black-and-white photograph of Gutzon Borglum.
A portrait of a white man, only his head is visible in the photo. He is turned facing the right, showing his side profile to the camera. He has a neutral expression and is looking off into the distance. He has dark eyes. He is wearing a dark fedora with a slightly lighter hat band, a white collared shirt, and a dark collared jacket. He has a large dark mustache that extends down past the corners of his mouth. He has short dark hair showing under his hat.
The man has a sharp jawline and a strong chin. He looks to be between 50 and 60 years old. The image is captioned Gutzon Borglum and credited to the NPS.
Second image: A small color photograph of a bust of Abraham Lincoln.
This sculpture shows only the head of President Lincoln. The facial expression is neutral and almost bored. He has large features, specifically his nose, lips, and ears. The sculpture does not portray a beard. The president's hair is parted on the right. There are signs of aging represented in the sculpture, like wrinkles around the mouth and eyes. The rock is white with touches of grey and tan. At the base of the head is unfinished, raw rock material.
The bust sits on a marble base with small carved embellishments.
The image is captioned "Lincoln sculpture by Borglum, 1908, now displayed in the US Capitol" and credited to the Architect of the Capitol.
Third image: A small, rectangular black-and-white photograph of Art Johnson.
A white man is sitting on a wooden chair preparing over a dozen sticks of dynamite. The man is wearing a light-colored messenger hat, a dirty white collared shirt, and large overalls that are cuffed at the bottom. The man's legs are crossed, and he looks deep in concentration. Behind him is a model of a face, about five feet tall. The model appears to be a plaster rendition of George Washington's face.
The man sits in a dark and slightly cluttered workshop. He is surrounded by tools and supplies.
The image is captioned "Art Johnson prepares dynamite for blasting granite" and credited to the NPS.
A small, rectangular color photograph of a person.
An image of a man working on the sculpture, to the right the head of Thomas Jefferson. The man is standing in a wooden platform box that is suspended from the top of the rock with cables. He is drilling into the mountain with a power tool. He appears to be wearing long sleeves and pants, gloves, a mask, and a hat. It's hard to tell if he is using eyewear or hearing protection. The man is in the lower right-hand corner of the image. Behind him is the unfinished head of Thomas Jefferson. On the side of the head are short, dark vertical marks that have been made in order to shape the rock. Behind the head is a blue sky with white wispy clouds and a dark mountain that is just barely showing behind the sculpted nose and forehead of the president. The rock is mostly grey with dark and light touches.
The man looks to be about the same height as the nose of the head in the photo.
The image is captioned "drilling near Jefferson head" and credited to the NPS.
A small, rectangular black-and-white photograph of a car with mountain in the distance.
The image is taken in a tunnel, facing outwards towards Mount Rushmore. The entrance of the tunnel is visible on the edges of the photo. A black vintage car is turning the corner towards the photographer in the tunnel. Behind the car in the distance is the monument under construction. There is visible scaffolding on the mountain and only George Washington's face looks to be near completion.
The face of George Washington is lacking detail, indicating the sculptors work is not done.
The image is captioned "visitors have photographed the view from Iron Mountain Road tunnel for years" and the image is credited to the NPS.
Sixth image: Flags below Mount Rushmore
A small, square color photograph with flags below Mount Rushmore.
A modern image of Mount Rushmore at dusk. The monument is bathed in warm light. In the foreground there is a path with seven large pillars on each side. Each pillar has four flags representing the states, district, territories, and commonwealths of the United States. The flags are illuminated with lights from the pillars. Behind the flags is Mount Rushmore. The four faces of the presidents sit at the top of the mountain in front of a dark blue sky. Below the tan colored faces are trees and greenery that have grown in the rubble.
The colorful flags are on poles at a 45-degree angle from the pillars. They appear to be in alphabetical order, the state flags of Arizona, Arkansas, and California can be seen in the front of the photo.
The image is captioned "Evening Lighting Ceremony and Avenue of Flags" and is credited to Vineeth Mekkat.
Accompanying text to the images begins with a series of quotes then more a timeline of the Memorial.
A monument’s dimensions should be determined by the importance to civilization of the events commemorated.
More and more we sensed that we were creating a truly great thing, and after a while all of us old hands became truly dedicated to it and determined to stick to it.
—Otto “Red” Anderson, driller and assistant carver
This can be a monument and an inspiration for the continuance of the democratic-republican form of government, not only in our own beloved country, but, we hope, throughout the world.
—Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936
Now the timeline begins.
1867: John Gutzon del la Mothe Borglum born March 25 in St. Charles, Idaho, to Mormon Danish immigrants. Later studies art in Paris and New York and becomes well-known portrait sculptor.
1885: New York attorney Charles Rushmore goes to Black Hills to inspect mining claims; Mount Rushmore named for him.
1889: South Dakota and North Dakota become states.
1923: South Dakota state historian Doane Robinson proposes carving Old West heroes in the Needles—spirelike granite formations in the Black Hills. Robinson approaches sculptor Gutzon Borglum, then at work on Confederate memorial on Stone Mountain, Georgia.
1925: Federal and state legislation authorizes carving of memorial in Black Hills. Borglum quits Stone Mountain project and goes to South Dakota. Chooses Mount Rushmore as site because of its size, orientation to the morning and midday light, and fine-grained granite. To appeal to national audience, Borglum proposes US presidents as subjects. Fundraising begins.
1927: President Calvin Coolidge spends summer in the Black Hills; dedicates memorial. Borglum begins carving.
1929: Mount Rushmore National Memorial Act provides matching federal funding and creates commission to raise funds and oversee operations. Stock market crashes in October; ensuing economic collapse threatens project.
1930: Dedication of Washington head July 4.
1933: President Franklin D. Roosevelt places Rushmore under jurisdiction of National Park Service. After 18 months of carving, Jefferson head relocated to Washington’s left because of flaws in granite. Original Jefferson figure is blasted away. Gutzon’s son Lincoln Borglum begins full-time work at Rushmore.
1934: Borglum and Hearst newspapers sponsor national essay contest for text inscription on entablature near presidents’ faces. William Burkett, a Nebraska law student, wins contest and scholarship for his 500-word history of the United States.
1935: As work on the monument continues, Lincoln’s head is sited where the entablature was intended to be placed; entablature is never carved.
1936: President Franklin D. Roosevelt attends a dedication of Jefferson head August 30.
1937: A bill is introduced in Congress to add Susan B. Anthony’s portrait on Rushmore. Separate legislation requires that money be spent only on those figures already begun, thus ending the Anthony proposal. Lincoln head dedicated September 17.
1938: Work focuses on Theodore Roosevelt head, with details of Washington’s neck also in progress. In the granite behind the heads, excavation begins for Hall of Records, Borglum’s planned storage vault for important national documents and an American history time capsule. Original commission disbands; Borglum chooses members for new commission.
1939: Roosevelt head dedicated July 2. Memorial officially transferred to National Park Service. Work ceases on Hall of Records.
1941: Gutzon Borglum dies March 6. Lincoln Borglum oversees carving until its completion on October 31.
1959: Mount Rushmore is the site of a climactic scene in movie North by Northwest. (Filming actually takes place in a studio.)
1975: Bronze plate with Burkett’s entablature essay placed at the site of Borglum’s original studio.
1991–98: To commemorate 50th anniversary of the completion of carving on the memorial, Mount Rushmore undergoes major redevelopment. Museum, Grand View Terrace, Avenue of Flags, restaurant, gift shop, and parking decks built.
A small, rectangular horizontal color photograph.
This image shows four young men lined up in navy blue United States Air Force uniforms. They are wearing navy blue suit jackets with gold pins on the collar, white collared shirts, black ties, and navy blue garrison caps. The garrison caps sit on top of their heads, almost like a triangle, the two sides of the cap meet at the top in a ridge that goes front to back. The focus of the photo is young black man that is receiving an American flag from an older white man who appears to be standing. The older man is bending over, he is wearing sunglasses, a white collared shirt, and a black suit jacket. He has grey hair. The young men look to be between 18 and 25 years of age. The men standing next to the recipient of the flag are watching their peer. One man in the line is looking down.
The scene appears to be momentous, everyone in the photo is serious yet engaged.
Caption reads "Naturalization ceremony, 2007" and the image is credited to United States Air Force Michael B. Keller.
Accompanying text reads:
Every year, nearly 3 million people from all over the world visit Mount Rushmore. Some become citizens here.
The original cost of carving was $989,992.32; about 85 percent was federal funds. The price tag for the 1990s redevelopment was $56 million.
Around 400 laborers, mostly from the ranks of the unemployed, worked on the memorial. There were few injuries and no deaths. Hourly pay ranged from 35 cents to one dollar and fifty cents.
About 450,000 tons of rock were blasted from the mountain.
Cracks are patched as needed with silicone sealant. The faces were “washed” for the first time in 2005 using pressurized water.
Noses are about 20 feet long, eyes about 11 feet wide, mouths about 18 feet wide.
The back of the brochure contains a map of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, general trip planning and safety information, and a brief summary of the animals and plants found in the area.
A wayfinding map of Mount Rushmore in the form of an aereal photograph occupies the top two thirds of the brochure. There is brief trip planning, safety, accessibility, and contact information overlaid over the top of the map. The bottom third of the brochure gives a brief overview of area animals and plants and features a small collage of images.
The parking facility is concession-operated and charges a fee. National Parks and other federal recreation passes do not apply to parking.
You can view Mount Rushmore from the roadside year-round. It is best viewed and photographed in the morning light.
The information center has staff available and displays to help you plan your visit to the memorial and the Black Hills.
The 0.6-mile Presidential Trail begins at Grand View Terrace, with access to viewing sites near the talus (rocky) slope below the faces. There are 422 stairs on this trail. Trail may be closed in winter.
The Evening Lighting Ceremony is held in the outdoor amphitheater nightly in summer. The rest of the year the sculpture is illuminated at sunset for a couple of hours. Check schedules in summer for ranger-led programs.
The Sculptor’s Studio (closed in winter) has models and tools used in the carving process. Programs conducted daily in summer. The concession building, open year-round, has food service and a gift shop.
A full page wayfinding map of Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
An illustration mimicking an aerial photograph shows the area around Mount Rushmore. This area contains the mountain, several buildings, trails, roads, and forest. No compass rose, scale, or distances are given. The map is bounded by the mountain containing the sculptures of presidents in the top right corner, the park entrance and parking lots in the bottom left corner, and highway 244 on the left. The Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center is highlighted in the center of the map.
There are two automobile parking lots in the bottom left of the map. A walkway connects the ends of these lots. In the middle of this walkway, there is a flagpole and a staircase that leads up to a crosswalk and the park entrance. The entrance is a long narrow open structure in Greco-Roman style. The structure is flanked on the left and right by bus parking.
A wide walkway leads from the entrance in the direction of the mountain. Immediately behind the park entrance there are two square buildings on either side of the walkway. The information center is on the right and audio tours and restrooms are on the left.
Two rectangular buildings flank the path between the entrance and visitor center. There is a gift shop on the left and cafe and ice cream shop on the right. The walkway then passes through the Avenue of Flags before reaching the Grand View Terrance and Visitor Center. Seven pillars with flags line each side of the path in this area.
The path passes through another long and narrow covered structure similar to the one at the entrance before emptying into the Grand View Terrace. This is a wide concaved paved platform that provides a view of the mountain. There are entrances to the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center on the left and right ends of the terrace. The visitor center is located below the terrace. The terrace gives way to a sloped-down amphitheater that has rows of brown chairs. At the end of the slope is a gray stage with a rectangular building.
On either side of the Grand View Terrace is the beginning and end of the Presidential Trail. The trail is a circular path represented with yellow dotted lines. There are seven staircases indicated on the map. Beginning to the left of the Grand View Terrace, the trail meanders clockwise through ponderosa pine forest and large granite rocks. There are several stops along the way: in the upper left corner is an area called the Youth Exploration Area, in the lower right corner is a building called the Sculptor's Studio, and in the lower center section of the trail is an area called the Borglum View Terrace. At the Borglum View Terrace there is a fork in the path, branching off into the Nature Trail that continues back to the parking area. The Presidential Trail continues on and ends at the right side of the Grand View Terrace.
Up and to the right from the Grand View Terrace, approximately a fourth of the space of the entire map, is a depiction of the Mount Rushmore sculpture. It depicts four human heads carved into a mountain: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. They are white granite and nestled within natural gray granite outcroppings. Beneath the sculpture is a debris field with thousands of stacks of rocks.
The image is credited to NPS International Mapping.
A small inset to the larger brochure with a rectangular color image and a small block of text. The inset is titled Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center.
Three sculpted faces are in an exhibit room. The faces are approximately 20 feet tall and depict George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson. There is a small television displaying a black and white image of construction equipment in front. There are additional models of George Washington's nose and hand in front of the faces.
The image is credited as "Museum NPS. Illustrated Map. International Mapping."
Text reads: Directly underneath the Grand View Terrace is the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center. It has exhibits on the carving, a short film, information desk, and bookstore operated by the cooperating association. Open 8 am to 5 pm in winter; until 10 pm in summer.
This section contains a collage of images of animals and plants found in Mount Rushmore surrounded by text on the left and right sides.
The first image is a rectangular color photograph depicting two four legged furry animals in front of a sculpture that is in the distance. It is on the left side of the brochure.
Two white goats with long fur. The goats are approximately three feet tall and each of them have two brown horns. They are standing in a field of cut green grass and are each eating it. In the background is a large white sculpture carved into a mountainside depicting four faces: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt. This sculpture is known as Mount Rushmore.
The caption reads "mountain goats make themselves at home in the park" and is credited to travel south dakota.
The second image is a rectangular color photograph depicting a small multi-colored bird on a branch. It is located to the top right of the goats.
A small bird is perched on a delicate branch in a wooded area. The bird has a beige-colored chest with black dots throughout. It has small orange coloring around its black eyes and red cheeks. The beak is gray and thin.
The caption reads "Northern flicker" and is credited to USFWS, Tom Koerner.
The third image is a rectangular color photograph depicting a small rodent-like furry creature. It is to the bottom right of the goats.
An approximately foot-long rodent-like creature standing on a gray rock. It has sharp brown fur and small circular ears. Its face is short with a dark nose and white colored fur around the face.
The caption reads "Yellow-bellied marmot" and the photo is credited to Dan and Lin Dzurisin.
The fourth & five images are two photographs of a multi-colored flower. It is located to the right of the bird and marmot.
The flower has over a dozen long purple pedals and a circular center that is brown and read. There is a second flower beneath it with a green stem and several vibrant yellow pedals coming off of it.
Caption reads "Purple coneflower & Goldenpea" and the photos are credited to NPS.
The sixth image is a rectangular color photograph depicting a large cat-like creature standing on gray rocks. It is to the right of the flower.
The large cat-like creature has dark brown fur on most of its body. Its face and belly has white fur. It has a bushy tail and long whiskers.
Caption reads "Mountain lion" and the photo is credited to Sarah Bartell.
The seventh image is an inset photograph of a bat with wings outstretched. It is below the mountain lion.
The small furry bat has wings outstretched. The wings have numerous delicate bones that provide support for the webbing between them. The body of the creature has light grey fur and its face is brown and fleshy with big ears.
Caption reads "Little brown bat" and the photo is credited to Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation.
The eighth image is an inset of a light-colored bat with wings outstretched. It is located to the top right of the mountain lion.
A tan colored bat with wide wings spans this section. The fur is light-colored and the wings are nearly off-white in color in their lightness. The bat has long, thin ears nearing a fourth its body-size.
Caption reads "Townsend's big-eared bat" and the photo is credited to Michael Durham.
Text accompanying this section reads:
"Ponderosa pines dominate this dry, rocky landscape. The Black Hills takes its name from the illusion of darkness and density the pines create when viewed from a distance. The forest is not really dense, though. Its open understory is ideal for pine saplings.
Besides ponderosa pines, common trees are birch, cottonwood, spruce, and aspen. Trees are homes for birds, insects, and small mammals. Woodpeckers, nuthatches, and northern flickers nest inside dead standing trees and feed on insects that live in the bark. Red squirrels, chipmunks, and mice feed on seeds and cones.
Where the forests are disturbed by fire or pine beetles, the cycle of forest succession begins anew with aspens, shrubs, and mixed grasses. Meadows have their own habitat. In spring look for wildflowers here: blanket flower, prairie coneflower, purple coneflower, golden pea, wild blue flax, wild bergamot, and smooth beardtongue. Elk, mule deer, and white-tailed deer browse on grasses, shrubs, and saplings.
Yellow-bellied marmots sun on rocks throughout the park and under the sculpture on the talus slope in morning and evening. They spend hot days in their burrows and hibernate through the winter.
Predators are less commonly seen by visitors. Coyotes hunt in meadows, while mountain lions and bobcats prowl wooded areas at night.
During the Evening Lighting Ceremony, you might see bats hunting bugs attracted by the lights. Black Hills bats are crucial to controlling insects like mosquitoes and moths. Bats also contribute to the pollination process. Recently, white-nose syndrome, a fungus that affects hibernating bats, threatens bat populations.
Some mammals that thrive in the Black Hills are not native. Today’s mountain goats descend from a group of six donated by Canada to nearby Custer State Park. They escaped from their pens and took to the craggy slopes.
In the developed area of the park, look for mountain goats, marmots, and other wild animals. They may appear tame, but for their sake and yours, do not feed, touch, or approach them."
Please observe these regulations:
We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For information, ask a ranger, call, or check the park website.
ADDRESS: 13000 Hwy. 244, Bldg. 31, Suite 1, Keystone, SD 57751-0268
PHONE NUMBER: 605-574-2523
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. To learn more, visit www.nps.gov.
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