The National Mall in Washington, D.C., ca. 1863
Over nearly 250 years, the National Mall has evolved as the center stage of the nation’s capital. The Founding Fathers saw the District of Columbia as a shining beacon of democracy for a newly independent nation, reflected in the L’Enfant Plan’s vision of the National Mall as its ceremonial core. Progress, however, was slow and laborious. Less than 40 years after the establishment of Washington, Charles Dickens described the underwhelming capital as a “city of magnificent intentions.”
Carolyn Muraskin traces the Mall’s transition from pasture lands to military training grounds and from mud flats to grand monuments, sharing the tumultuous and lesser- known history of our most enduring national landmarks including the Capitol, Washington Monument, White House, National WWII Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial.
Muraskin is the founder of DC Design Tours, which offers historical tours focused on architecture, urban planning, and design.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*
Recommended Program: If you are interested in this program, we recommend you consider registering for The Smithsonian Museums: Tracing the Arc of American Architecture, an online program on Thursday, December 14.
*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.