Public Meeting for National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission

Dear Coalition Friends:

You may wonder how decisions are made about which memorials are approved for Washington DC and the National Mall and how locations are chosen. Tomorrow, you have an opportunity to see for yourself.

The next public meeting of the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission (NCMAC) takes place tomorrow, Tuesday, October 23, at 1:30 p.m., at the National Building Museum, Room 312, 401 F Streets, NW, Washington, DC–in the offices of the US Commission of Fine Arts.

The agenda includes:

Review of H.R 3026, a bill to establish a commemorative work on Federal land in the District of Columbia and its environs to honor all those who have put their country first as military spouses throughout our Nation’s history

Alternative sites study for the Memorial to Victims of Ukraine Famine Genocide, including 1. a site on Pennsylvania Avenue between 18th and 19th Streets, NW, 2. Massachusetts Avenue at 2nd and D Streets, NE, and 3. New York Avenue at 12th and I Streets, NW.

The memorial building process begins when a private memorial sponsor secures a champion in Congress then goes before the NCMAC to seek advice about requirements for memorial building. NCMAC works with sponsors to identify potential sites. Then, based on NCMAC’s recommendations, the Secretary of Interior and Administrator of the General Services Administration (depending on whose land is under consideration) approves a site. Only after that determination has been made, NPS or GSA seeks approval of the site from the review agencies, the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission.**

The sequence of actions leaves little opportunity for public comment until after a site is approved. However, public comment is welcome at the NCMAC meeting.

Decisions made by NCMAC go to heart of the story told in the monuments of the nation’s capital. The Coalition has made the case that the Commission should include historians and other non-governmental experts and that public involvement should begin immediately once a memorial is proposed. As for private sponsorship of memorials, we have argued that any memorial or museum that merits a location in the nation’s capital should be publicly funded.

Who serves on the NCMAC? The chair is the Director of the National Park Service. Members include the Chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission, Architect of the Capitol, Chairman of the American Battle Monuments Commission, Chairman of the Commission of Fine Arts, Mayor of the District of Columbia, Administrator of General Services Administration, and the Secretary of Defense.

**The process is described in NPS’s 24 Steps to Erecting a Memorial in Washington, D.C.