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'American Idol' winner and Al Roker join Washington Monument reopening May 12

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The Washington Monument will reopen on May 12 in a ceremony headlined by "Today" Show's Al Roker and "American Idol" Season 12 winner Candice Glover, the National Park Service (NPS) announced April 29.

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The ceremony May 12 at 10 A.M. re-opens the monument that had been closed for almost three years to repair damage from an earthquake.

Public tours of the monument will begin at 1:00 P.M. that day. Tickets for tours will be available on a first come-first served basis starting at 8:30 A.M. May 12. Tickets for tours from May 13-onward are available on the NPS reservation page,

The monument will have extended hours, from 9 A.M. to 10 P.M., throughout the summer.

The Washington Monument was closed for 32 months since a 5.8 magnitude earthquake Aug. 23, 2011 caused more than 150 cracks in the structure.

During the repairs, the obelisk had been covered with scaffolding and a bluish "scrim" painted to look like the monument's stone blocks. More than 485 lamps under the scrim had made the monument look as if it was glowing at night.

This was not the first time the almost 130-year-old monument was scaffolded and lit up. Famed architect Michael Graves designed illuminated scaffolding for the monument during its last major repairs from 1999-2000, just in time for the new millennium.

The scrim was new, but the scaffolding recreates Graves' design.

Half of the monument's $15 million repair bill was donated by philanthropist David M. Rubenstein.

He has said, "The National Park Service has done a spectacular job of repairing the monument, and I hope as many people as possible will soon be able to see the unique view from the top."

This is just one of numerous contributions by Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group. He has donated more than $100 million to Washington institutions including Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, National Zoo, and National Archives.

The National Archives last December opened the David M. Rubenstein Gallery and its permanent exhibition "Records of Rights", vividly bringing to life the past and ever-present struggles of U.S. women, African Americans, and immigrants.

And soon, the Washington Monument will finally re-open.