Letter from the Chair

July 2021

Dear Friends of the National Mall:

At long last, this month we celebrate the reopening of the Smithsonian museums, and the return of lively public activity on the Mall, as coronavirus closures and restrictions are lifted. The National Mall Coalition welcomes your interest in and support of our efforts to ensure the continued vitality and resiliency of the Mall in the 21st century.

The National Mall in the heart of the nation’s capital is the Stage for American Democracy. Yet the public has little voice in determining how we can use it for First Amendment gatherings, cultural activities, and recreation, or what new museums and monuments are added to this majestic landscape. In recent years, restrictions have been placed on public use. First the Solar Decathlon, then the National Book Festival were denied permits to set up on the Mall. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival could be next. Recreational sports groups are trying to keep their place on the open space.

But the Mall was created as the people’s place, and public activities are essential to that historic significance as well as to the vitality of the Mall to the capital and the country. The National Mall Coalition is working with local sports groups and Congressional members to raise public awareness of this threat and develop plans and policies to protect public use.

Our strongest efforts continue to focus on actively promoting thoughtful, long-range planning for this landscape symbol of American democracy in the 21st century — what we call the 3rd Century Mall. Take a look at the “Innovation” section of this website to learn more about our proposals and projects, including public exhibitions about Mall history and future, and the National Mall Underground project.

In 2016 we changed our name from the National Coalition to Save Our Mall to the National Mall Coalition. We have gone from saving the Mall from threats to saving the Mall for future generations. With government planners focusing on Mall maintenance and jurisdiction-based projects, we look at the big picture: What’s the comprehensive, long-range, visionary plan that will ensure the continuing relevance of the Mall as a unified whole — open space, monuments, and museums together — in our democracy? Involving the American public, and local and national nonprofit and civic groups, in shaping the future of the Mall is a crucial component for success. Thus, our name now matches our ongoing efforts to build our Mall “Coalition.”

We welcome your interest and participation as we continue our efforts to protect and advance the brilliant visionary planning for the National Mall, to engage the public in thoughtful ideas about the future, to collaborate on innovative solutions to Mall-wide problems, and to create visionary ideas that show how the Mall can continue to evolve as a dynamic and powerful symbol of America’s history and heritage and the centerpiece of the nation’s capital community.


Judy Feldman signature

Judy Scott Feldman, PhD
[email protected] / 301-335-8490