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Washington Monument to reopen for public tours May 12

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It won’t be long now.

The National Park Service (NPS) has announced that the remaining scaffolding surrounding the Washington Monument has begun to come down this week in preparation for the monument’s reopening on May 12.

The Washington Monument has been closed since August 23, 2011, because of damage received in a 5.8 magnitude earthquake. It is now in the final stages of the restoration, which included repairs to more than 150 cracks in the structure.

The National Park Service and the Trust for the National Mall plan a reopening ceremony on May 12 at 10 a.m. that morning. Public tours will begin that day at 1 p.m., with tickets available on a first come, first served basis starting at 8:30 a.m. that day at the Washington Monument Lodge on 15th Street, between Madison and Jefferson Drives.

Tickets for tours on May 13 and all future dates will be available on the NPS reservation page, www.recreation.gov, starting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 16, at 10 a.m.

“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,” said philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, who donated $7.5 million to the Trust for the National Mall to fund the monument’s restoration. Rubenstein’s gift matched the public funds allocated by Congress for the project.

“We are grateful for David Rubenstein’s generous donation that funded half of the $15 million repair bill,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “David’s support of the national parks and the work of the National Park Service sets a high standard for park philanthropy nationwide and is appreciated by every visitor who will learn something about President Washington or simply enjoy the view from the top.”

The National Park Service will extend the operating hours of the monument through the end of the summer in light of the 32-month closing. Visitors may tour the inside of the monument from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily.

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