The Sculptor’s Studio (open seasonally, mid-May–mid-Aug. daily 8 a.m.–7 p.m., mid-Aug.–early Oct. daily 8 a.m.–5 p.m., closed early Oct.–mid-May) is located at the bottom of the hill just past the Borglum Viewing Terrace . This was Borglum’s second studio on-site and contains the working model for Mount Rushmore .
The model displayed at the studio is, in fact, the second model for the mountain carving. The first model had Jefferson situated to the left of Washington when facing the monument. Much work was done on that initial plan until it was discovered that the rock face where Jefferson was originally going to be located was not stable.
Jefferson was dynamited off the face of the mountain, a new model was created and Jefferson was moved to his current location between Roosevelt and Lincoln.
In addition to the model for the monument, the Sculptor’s Studio displays a collection of tools and narrative descriptions on how these tools were used in the carving. There are several early photographs of Mount Rushmore before and after the carving, as well as many photos of the carving in process.
The model displayed at the Sculptor’s Studio is markedly different from the final project. All of the presidents were originally to be carved from head to waist. When Gutzon Borglum died in March 1941, it was decided that with the artist gone and with the country facing World War II, funding shortages would not allow work on the monument to progress. It was decided to leave the monument as it was since the faces were complete. Additional carving was deemed not necessary.
Also it was Borglum’s vision, Borglum’s plan. Declaring the monument finished upon his death honored the sculptor. Lincoln Borglum, Gutzon Borglum’s son, spent a few months more on the monument after his father’s death supervising the final finish work and clean-up of the monument site.