Washington National Cathedral wins preservation competition

Grant of $100,000 will continue earthquake restoration work

Posted May 13, 2013

[Washington National Cathedral press release] Washington National Cathedral learned May 13 that it came in first place in the Partners in Preservation competition sponsored by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

As the winner, the cathedral is guaranteed a grant of $100,000 that will go toward restoration efforts including the eventual removal of netting made necessary by the August 2011 earthquake that resulted in $20 million worth of damage to the building. The cathedral was one of 24 historic sites in the greater Washington, D.C. area that participated in the friendly competition. Twelve other sites will also receive significant grants from the sponsors.

“We are overjoyed by this vote of support for our restoration efforts,” said the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral. “This money will be put to good use restoring this incredible structure that has been entrusted to us by the American people. The generosity that American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation have shown is equaled only by the remarkable work they have done calling attention to the critical preservation projects that are in need of support across the region. Our success is made greater by the knowledge that many other competitors will also be able to move forward with their projects.”

Following a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in August 2011, the ceiling of the cathedral’s nave has been obscured by dark nets along most of its one tenth-mile length to catch any mortar and debris that might fall. The cathedral, which is a non-profit institution that receives no direct federal or national church funding for its operations, has raised just over $9 million to date to support restoration.

The national capital region was the eighth metropolitan area to be selected to take part in the online Partners in Preservation competition, which rewards heavy social media activity by the supporters of participating sites with points. The American public helped the cathedral come in first place by voting online and via mobile device once per day, every day, throughout the competition. Extra points were awarded for registered individuals who checked in at Washington National Cathedral on Foursquare or used the #wncathedral hashtag on Twitter or Instagram.

Americans are invited to follow the cathedral’s progress in restoration and historic preservation on all these social media networks and on its website.

Editors’ note: The complete list of grants awarded is available here.