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Commemorative Works Program

As the nation’s capital, Washington, DC is home to many monuments and memorials honoring individuals and events of national significance. But the District is also a city of neighborhoods and residents, with a local history of people, places and events deserving their own commemoration. Local commemorative works can tell our stories in parks and plazas, along streets and avenues, and in our public buildings. A successful commemorative work can create a better understanding of the past, define District neighborhoods, and contribute to the daily-life experiences of District residents.

Underlying values that guide the work of the District’s Commemorative Works Program include:

  • Affirm our civic identity by recognizing and educating residents about our local history – a history that includes people of all races and genders, and events both well-known and forgotten;
  • Listen to residents to understand what the people, places, events and ideas they think should be commemorated;
  • In addition to traditional commemorative works, explore diverse and innovative ways to celebrate our community’s past, such as creative placemaking, temporary events, public art installations, and community celebrations;
  • Through thoughtful community planning and engagement, encourage commemorative works in places that have the greatest connection and meaning for both the object of commemoration and the potential audience;
  • Coordinate with other events, initiatives and projects, such as federal commemoration efforts (NCPC’s Museum and Memorial Master Plan), DC’s Cultural Plan objectives, and various District initiatives

We Want to Hear from You:

Do you have an idea for a person(s), place, idea or event that should be commemorated in the District of Columbia? Send an email describing the subject and why to: [email protected]. The District currently does not have a formal program or agency dedicated to creating commemorative works, but the Office of Planning is collecting ideas that can help us understand the types of people, places, and events that are important to residents. Your ideas can help inform future efforts to expand the District’s commemorative works program.

Are you an organization interested in formally proposing and/or sponsoring a commemorative work in the District of Columbia? You can download a copy of the commemorative works application here.

For More Information:

Learn about formal and informal commemoration in District of Columbia neighborhoods honoring native Washingtonians, people who made Washington their home, or organizations that have made a difference.
A guide to the process for reviewing commemorative work applications - from submitting an application to going before the Mayor and District Council for a final action.
Applications that the Commemorative Works Committee is currently reviewing or has voted on a final action.
An illustrated presentation of the District of Columbia’s commemorative works legislation, review process, and examples of projects that have been approved.
Learn about the Office of Planning’s current effort to develop a location strategy for District of Columbia commemorative works.
Information on the District of Columbia’s program promoting commemorative works in neighborhoods.
Legislation that establishes what defines a commemorative works, the make-up and responsibilities of the Commemorative Works Committee, and the process for review, submission, and approval of formal applications.
Information shared at past Commemorative Works Committee meetings, meeting dates, and filing dates for sponsors submitting applications.
DC Facilities and Commemorative Expressions (DC FACES) Working Group
Mayor Bowser’s task force created to evaluate the names of public facilities to make sure they reflect District of Columbia Values.
Report prepared by the University of the District of Columbia recommending up to 12 proposed commemorative works honoring native Washingtonians or people who made Washington their home.

For more information, contact Chris Shaheen, Public Space Program Manager of the DC Office of Planning at (202) 442-7616 or by email at [email protected].