Planning for this memorial park began in 1999 when the U.S. Congress created the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission. In 2005 the commission selected a four-acre site at the east end of the National Mall, framed by federal institutions closely linked to the Eisenhower Administration. Architect Frank Gehry with Joseph Brown and Roger Courtney of EDAW (now AECOM) won the design competition to design the memorial in 2007. Gehry’s initial concept depicted landscapes from Eisenhower’s life fabricated on monumental welded steel tapestries supported by 80-foot-tall columns. Pushback from members of the Eisenhower family, government officials, and the public opposing Gehry’s selection and design embattled the memorial’s development, and many alterations, including the addition of sculptures, and modifications to the number, scale, and placement of tapestries and columns, were made before Gehry’s design was finally approved by the Commission of Fine Arts in 2017.
The memorial was completed in 2020 at a total cost of $145 million and dedicated in September of that year. The core of the memorial park features two sculptural scenes from Eisenhower’s life as a general and later as president, rendered in limestone and bronze by Sergey Eylanbekov and positioned facing at a slight angle. Inscriptions within the limestone, carved by Nick Benson, feature quotations from presidential speeches. Above these two tableaus, a single steel tapestry by Tomas Osinski measuring 450 feet wide and 60 feet tall features abstract engravings of the cliffs of Normandy. A third sculpture, depicting Eisenhower as a young man, is located at the site’s northwest corner. Landscape design by AECOM preserved views of the U.S. Capitol while adding more than 150 trees to screen the view of the tapestry from afar and break up the imposing façade of the Department of Education building behind.