The Adams Memorial is a proposed United States presidential memorial on the National Mall to honor Founding Father and second President John Adams; his wife and prolific writer Abigail Adams; their son, the sixth U.S. President John Quincy Adams; his wife Louisa Catherine Adams; their son, American Civil War diplomat, politician, and editor Charles Francis Adams, Sr.; and Charles' two sons, noted historian and autobiographer Henry Adams and academician Brooks Adams. As of November 2023, eight of the twelve members of the Adams Memorial Commission had yet to be appointed, with vacancies to be filled by members of Congress.


On November 5, 2001, the United States Congress authorized the Adams Memorial Foundation to proceed with the design and construction of the memorial.[1][2] The foundation was given permission to raise private funds to construct the Adams Memorial on federal land in Washington, D.C. Once established, the memorial was to be turned over to the federal government. On December 2, 2002, Congress amended this legislation to permit the Adams Memorial to be constructed within Area 1, the central core of the District of Columbia centered on the National Mall.[1]

The Commemorative Works Clarification and Revision Act of 2003 (CWCRA) gave the Adams Memorial Foundation seven years to raise the funds and begin construction. When the memorial foundation was unable to raise the funds, Congress passed legislation on October 30, 2009, giving the Adams Memorial effort until September 30, 2010, to complete its fundraising. On December 2, 2009, Congress passed legislation applying the CWCRA to the Adams Memorial, although the clock began running with passage of the Area I authorization. Congress extended the deadline for fund-raising yet again on May 24, 2010, giving the memorial until December 2, 2013, to finish its efforts.[3]

Authorization for the Adams Memorial expired on December 2, 2013, without a memorial having begun construction.[3] Congress again reauthorized the memorial on July 22, 2014, extending the deadline to December 2, 2020.[4] Following the continued failure of the foundation to select a location and raise funds,[5] the March 2019 John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act established an Adams Memorial Commission to establish the memorial, with members appointed by Congress and the president.[6][5] President Trump made two of four presidential appointments in fall 2020, Timothy Harleth[7] and Jackie Gingrich Cushman, daughter of former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich,[8] and President Biden made two appointments in March 2023, Peter S. Cooke and Richard A. Houghten.[9]

As of November 2023 the Speaker of the House Mike Johnson and Senate President pro tempore Patty Murray have not yet made any of their eight appointments. According to Section 2406 of the 2019 authorizing statute, while the presidential appointments may be any member of the public, the congressional appointments can be only current elected members of the House and Senate. The commission expires December 2, 2025.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Memorial Legislation." National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission. June 22, 2013. Archived April 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Accessed 2014-04-04.
  2. ^ Plodding through the Presidents
  3. ^ a b "Authorized Memorials - Status of Authorities." National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission. April 15, 2013. Archived April 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Accessed 2014-04-04.
  4. ^ "House Passes Lynch-Backed Reauthorization of the Adams Memorial Foundation" U.S. House of Representatives - Office of Congressman Stephen Lynch. July 22, 2014. Accessed 2014-09-16.
  5. ^ a b Tully-McManus, Katherine (2018-07-23). "House Backs Plan for John Adams Memorial".
  6. ^ "Statement by the President". Retrieved 2019-04-06 – via National Archives.
  7. ^ "Press Release - President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate and Appoint Individuals to Key Administration Posts | The American Presidency Project". Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  8. ^ Macaya, Melissa (2020-11-17). "In final weeks of administration, White House announces several appointments and nominations". CNN. Archived from the original on 2020-11-18. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  9. ^ "President Biden Announces Key Appointments to Boards and Commissions". The White House. 2023-03-03. Retrieved 2023-10-17.