Rehabilitation of Arlington House entering construction phase
Arlington House is closed for a complete restoration until January 2020
ARLINGTON, Va. – Construction on a multi-million-dollar project to rehabilitate Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, and improve surrounding parkland begins Monday, March 19, 2018. While Arlington House is closed, park rangers invite the public to the temporary visitor center, located in the Women in Military Service of America Memorial, which is adjacent to the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery.
The National Park Service (NPS) and National Park Foundation announced the $12.35 million restoration project made possible by businessman and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein in 2014.
When the project is completed, visitors will see Arlington House as it was in 1860, with rooms restored to their historical appearance. Additionally, the quarters for the enslaved people of Arlington House will be restored to better represent and tell their stories. As visitors move between the mansion and the new museum and bookstore, they will pass along accessible paths that stretch through the restored grounds, including heirloom gardens. People who cannot visit in person will enjoy a robust experience through virtual tours, complete with detailed displays of the rooms and objects that belonged to George Washington and the Lee family.
The NPS has elicited scholars’ advice on how to present, more completely, the experience of those who were enslaved at Arlington House. The NPS is committed to sharing our nation’s history inclusively and holistically. “While Arlington House serves as a memorial to Robert E. Lee, it also stands alone in its capacity to tell the stories of our nation’s triumphs and struggles through the lens of those who called it home,” park Superintendent Alexcy Romero, said.
The residence of Robert E. Lee and his family before the Civil War, Arlington House connects to many important figures, issues and events in American history. Built by enslaved laborers of George Washington Parke Custis between 1802 and 1818, the house and grounds have served many purposes over the last 200 years: a memorial honoring George Washington, a family home for the Lees and Custises, a plantation estate and home to 63 enslaved people, a a military headquarters for Union troops, a community for emancipated slaves and a national cemetery. With 650,000 annual visitors, Arlington House is the most visited historic house museum in the national park system. Since 1933, the NPS has managed Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial. The 16.28-acre memorial now lies within Arlington National Cemetery, which was built entirely within the historic 1,100-acre Arlington estate.