Mismanagement Desecration Restoration

The Tomb's Decline and Restoration

The 1960's and 1970's saw a general decline of patriotism and misdirection on the part of the National Park Service (NPS). A 1959 report by an NPS historian admits that when it assumed control of Grant's Tomb, "the [National Park] Service had no program for the site." Ten years later, the NPS adopted an unfortunate plan under which the trophy cases in the two reliquary rooms, designed by the tomb's architect, were destroyed. Other invaluable features of the site's accompanying archival collection inherited by the NPS, including drawings submitted in the competition for Grant's Tomb and information regarding original contributors to the monument, were either disposed of intentionally or otherwise lost.

One of the destroyed trophy cases, with the Fausett murals in the background.

Dean Fausett's murals, despite their good condition and the prominence of the artist, were painted over in raspberry and blue paint in the east and west reliquary rooms respectively, and photo exhibits with captions were installed in their place. The exhibits were incoherently arranged and contained historical inaccuracies.

Detail of photo exhibit covering the Fausett murals.
The oval photo mistakenly labels as Grant someone with no known connection to Grant

Additionally, the NPS spent much needed government funds in 1972 on the construction of abstract mosaic benches, which have been widely criticized for having little to do with the monument and for detracting from its architectural and aesthetic character.

Detail of mosaic benches.

All this, however, may have been exceeded by the most disturbing trend at Grant's Tomb: