Rehabilitation, 2018 - 2021


On July 17, 2014, businessman and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein announced a $12.35 million gift to restore and improve access to Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial. The gift, the lead contribution in the National Park Foundation’s Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, funded physical construction and site improvements; advancements for the visitor experience; and enhancement to the museum collections and artifact conservation

Significantly, the gift funded enhancements in the site’s interpretative resources to help better tell the stories of American history through the lens of the generations of people who called Arlington House their home.

Rubenstein’s gift also was leveraged by Save Historic Arlington, the organization know now as the Arlington House Foundation, to help enable receipt of a Save America’s Treasure (SAT) grant. Federal SAT grants are intended to preserve nationally significant historic properties and collections.


On March 19, 2018, the Arlington House site closed to visitors and rehabilitation activities began.

During closure, contractors worked to stabilize Arlington House’s foundation, restore exterior finishes and hardware, recoat decorative masonry faux-marble finishes, complete interior painting, repair plaster, rehabilitate windows and doors, and reset the Portico’s brick floor. Also, electrical, lighting, security, climate management and fire suppression systems were improved and the historic grounds and gardens were realigned to allow for improved accessibility.

The North Slave Quarters and the South Slave Quarters were rehabilitated. During the work, archeological investigations identified a subfloor storage pit in the west room South Slave Quarters. Analysis of the contents of the pit determined that it functioned as a type of magical or religious shrine.

During closure, NPS curators worked to conserve or restore more than 1,000 historic objects and acquired 1,300 antiques or reproductions, including several artifacts associated with African American history.

See below for photos taken during the Rehabilitation.


On June 8, 2021, the site re-opened, allowing visitors to experience new, thoroughly researched exhibits describing the history of the Custis and Lee families alongside that of the more than 100 enslaved people who labored at Arlington. For more information, see here.

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