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American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation Award Grant to Union Station in Washington, D.C.


National Treasure receives funding to restore historic gilded ceiling

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation today announced a grant to Union Station in Washington, D.C., a National Treasures site that was damaged during the earthquake in August 2011. The funding from American Express will help re-gild the ceiling inside the Main Hall. The $350,000 grant adds to the $2 million in preservation grants that American Express contributed to the Capitol region in 2013 when it brought its Partners in Preservation program to the area in April. With a long history of philanthropy, American Express is deeply committed to historic preservation, providing more than $50 million in grants to preserve historic places globally.

“We are thrilled by the interest of American Express and the National Trust in Union Station,” said Beverley K. Swaim-Staley, president and CEO, Union Station Redevelopment Corporation, “This contribution helps us significantly in our efforts to preserve this wonderful building for the next century.”

“American Express recognizes that historic places, like Union Station, help bring to life our nation’s rich, cultural heritage,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president of American Express Foundation. “Union Station is one of the most visited tourist destinations in D.C., which is why we want to preserve its golden past, so the Station can be enjoyed by every employee, visitor and traveler for many years to come.”

As the Presenting Partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Treasures program, American Express has pledged $2 million to help promote and enable the preservation of these endangered cultural and historic places. National Treasures are threatened buildings, neighborhoods, communities and landscapes that stand at risk across the country.

Union Station was added to this growing portfolio of sites in 2012 to ensure the historic station is protected while it’s transformed to serve 21st century transit passengers. A Beaux Arts masterpiece, this major transportation hub continues to play a pivotal role in the community, and stands as an icon of the nation’s architectural heritage.

The grant will assist Union Station Redevelopment Corporation with the replacement of more than the 120,000 sheets of 23-karat gold leaf adorning the 96 foot barrel-vaulted ceilings in the Main Hall and restore its original splendor. The 23 karat, 18 gram weight gold leaf material will replace the current 22 karat, 14 gram weight gold leaf material. This will result in a more lustrous finish and an increased life expectancy of 75-100 years compared to 35 years for the current material. The gold leaf is being made exclusive for this project by Giusto Manetti Gold Beaters of Florence, Italy, a firm that has been providing this specialized service since the 1600’s.

In October of 1907, Washington, D.C.’s Union Station first opened its doors. Heralded as the largest train station in the world, Union Station ushered travelers to and from the nation’s capital with an experience grand in its scale and neo-classical design. A Beaux Arts icon designed by renowned architect Daniel Burnham, Union Station is many things to the more than 100,000 people who use it daily. First and foremost, the station is a busy transit hub serving fourteen types of transportation, from passenger trains and inter-city buses, to bike sharing services and DC’s subway system. Just two blocks from the U.S. Capitol, Union Station is also one of the city’s most visited tourist destinations.

About American Express
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at and connect with us on, and

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately-funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. Learn more at and connect with us on and

About the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation
To preserve Union Station’s history and new vitality as an inter-modal transportation center that supports commerce and social interaction. Initially created in 1983, the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation is a private nonprofit organization created to oversee restoration of Union Station, ensure its return to a functioning rail station and create a retail/entertainment destination. Learn more at


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