DC is famous for monuments and memorials – older ones like Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and newer ones like FDR, Vietnam and World War II. Most of these have big crowds (for good reason) but there are also some less-well known monuments that are also worth a visit. One of my favorites of these is the Albert Einstein Memorial, located just off the Mall on Constitution Avenue NW.
Hidden in a little stand of trees, the Einstein Memorial is kind of the opposite of a lot of the more famous monuments: unassuming and laid-back, literally. Unlike the grand, heroic and epic designs of the Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson, the Einstein Memorial is a lot more subtle – a little hard to find, it’s just a big, bronze Albert reclining on some steps, leaning back lackadaisically while holding a sheet of equations on his lap. It makes the famously brilliant brain seem normal and approachable – he’s just a guy relaxing, doing a bit of work. The statue is made of tons of little lumps, kind of pointillism in sculpture, making it even more unassuming, while still impressive.
Along with the statue, there’s a constellation of stars around Einstein’s feet, which show the stars and planets for the day when the statue was dedicated, and the semi-circle of steps is covered in some of Einstein’s more interesting quotes.
It’s a subtle, calm and inspiring statue, and a nice respite from the busy Mall. Don’t miss it if you’re nearby.