The National Monument Audit, led by Monument Lab, will assess the current monument landscape across the United States.
The National Monument Audit draws on existing data on monuments from national, state, municipal, and publicly created sources. The Audit conducts deep research within a selected set of common monument subjects, organized along lines of, for example, race, gender, sexual orientation, and other meaningful distinctions. Finally, to contextualize the monuments within specific geographies and communities, the National Monument Audit is also creating a concurrent dataset of reported protest activities tied to monuments from local news reports, social media, and other sources.
The findings from the Audit will be available in spring 2021. The data will also be shared for re-use and re-interpretation as a machine-readable dataset with appropriate documentation. The Audit will be presented through a website with summary findings, data visualizations, and a free publication.
The National Monument Audit will lead into a larger 2021 initiative that will subgrant a total of $1 million to create ten new Monument Lab field offices that will re-imagine monuments in cities, regions, and communities across the country.
Over the last decade, Monument Lab has worked around the country with artists, community members, and local municipal leaders to critically engage the monuments we have inherited and unearth the next generation of monuments through stories of social justice. For example, through past participatory projects in Philadelphia (2017) and St. Louis (2019) we collaboratively built imaginative datasets and together elevated them into official registers of municipal data. The National Monument Audit provides a definitive account of the monument landscape across America, sharing information, data, and tools for local communities to address pressing issues around monuments, representation, and public space.