The Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Memorial Restoration Project will begin in April! The Friends and our project partners are very enthusiastic about announcing the start of the restoration project during Black History Month. In fact, Boston’s Black Heritage Trail starts at the Shaw 54th Memorial. The Partnership: The National Park Service, the City of Boston, Friends of the Public Garden, and the Museum of African American History will continue to use this restoration as a platform for dialogue about race and social justice.

The National Park Service, with input from the City and the Friends, selected Louis C. Allegrone, Inc. and conservators at Skylight Studios to lead the restoration process, which will see the memorial dismantled, restored, and reconstructed over a 6-month period.

The Partners will be installing 900 feet of life-size interpretive signage – a museum quality display in a public setting – revealing the story of the Civil War, the 54th Regiment, and the Memorial that celebrates it. Created by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the memorial is considered by many to be America’s greatest public monument. Today, the Shaw 54th Memorial remains a powerful beacon for freedom and an inspiring reminder of the Civil War regiment’s glory. It is public art placed with purpose – situated across from the State House, it reminds us of the importance of speaking truth to power.

The Memorial will be removed in April to undergo this major reconstruction, but you can still see it thanks to the wonders of augmented reality! The Partners have collaborated with Hoverlay to view the memorial virtually on your phone. Thanks to the AR app, you can hear the stories of Shaw, his Regiment, and the memorial as told by Carol Fulp, Ted Landsmark, and 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry member Emmett Sykes in multiple languages as well as American Sign Language.