Arts & Culture

Shaw 54th Memorial Restoration Project Readies for Construction on Boston Common

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The Partnership to Renew the Shaw 54th Memorial Regiment began construction site work around the Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial in the Boston Common, marking the next phase of the $3 million restoration project.

To bring life to the project site, 900 feet of interpretive signage will be installed along the construction fencing, revealing the story of the Civil War, the 54th Regiment, and the Memorial that celebrates it. Created by Visual Dialogue and printed and installed by Boston Building Wrap, Inc., the museum-like panels will feature images of handwritten letters from Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, enlistment signs recruiting black men to the cause, and photos of the men who served in the 54th Regiment.

“We’re delighted to continue the long-needed restoration of the historic Shaw 54th Monument by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the first civic monument to pay homage to the heroism of African American soldiers and considered the nation’s greatest piece of public art,” said Liz Vizza, Executive Director of the Friends of the Public Garden. “Thinking of history and tradition reminds us that the Boston Common has supported the community through countless world-changing events, including multiple pandemics long before COVID-19. Monuments and parks tell these important stories for generations upon generations, and we’re proud of the Partnership’s efforts to ensure that this Memorial speaks loud and clear, today and for many years to come.”

The Partnership – comprised of the National Park Service, City of Boston, Friends of the Public Garden, and Museum of African American History – filed a work and safety plan that was approved by the City of Boston to begin construction under the Phase I reopening guidelines issued in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Staging and site preparation will continue for the next several weeks, followed by the restoration work, led by Louis C. Allegrone Construction with support from design consultant Silman Structural Engineers. All bronze and stone will be removed from the plaza level up, taken offsite to a conservation studio, and new waterproofing will be installed under the plaza’s brick. A new concrete foundation will be built under the bronze, and everything replaced, pinning the bronze to the marble structure that surrounds it.

Learn more about the Memorial, its history, and its future at Shaw54thMemorialRestoration.org.

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