This lesson is based on the National
Register of Historic Places registration file "Washington Monument"
(with photographs), and the visitor's guide to
the Monument, and other source material about George Washington and
the structure built to honor him. It was written by Stephanie A. Kopin,
park ranger at the National Mall. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.
Where it fits
into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson could be used in teaching units
on the American Revolution and the early Federal period as the focus
for a discussion of whether Washington deserved the reverence he inspired.
It could be part of units on the formation of national identity, collective
memory, and interpretations of the past. It could also be used in units
on art history, architecture, or urban planning.
Time period: 1760s-1880s
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
1) To understand some of the reasons Washington was so revered
during the early 19th century.
2) To describe the intentions behind the memorial to George Washington.
3) To analyze how ideas about the best designs for a monument
change over time.
4) To investigate memorials found in their community.
The materials listed below either can be used directly on
the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to
students. The maps and images appear twice: in a low-resolution version
with associated questions and alone in a larger, high-resolution version.
1) a map showing L'Enfant's original
plan for Washington, D.C.
2) three readings about the attempts
to build the monument;
3) a broadside encouraging Americans
to contribute to the building of the monument;
4) six drawings of potential designs
for the monument
5) one cartoon about the monument;
6) one photograph of the Washington
The Washington Monument, administered by the National Park Service, is located in Washington, D.C., on
the National Mall between 15th and 17th Streets and between Constitution
and Independence Avenues. It is open to the public every day except
December 25. For more information, visit
the park web pages.