The historical museum reopens with big plans for the future | news / arlington

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After reopening its museum to the public on the country’s 245th birthday, leaders of the Arlington Historical Society are now planning to complete a complete renovation and reinvent the facility in time for the country’s 250th anniversary.

“What a great day it would be if our museum was renovated, accessible to all of Arlington, and telling the story of all Arlingtonians” by 2026, said company president Cathy Bonneville Hix at a July 4th celebration. the first time the Arlington Historical Museum has been open to the public since the start of the pandemic.

The museum is located in the 19th century Hume School, located on Arlington Ridge Road. He came into the company 60 years ago and shows his age.

“Our museum needs help,” Hix told the assembly that showed up for the opening festivities.

An eight-month feasibility study conducted by an Arlington architectural firm provided a roadmap to modernize the three-story building, providing more exhibition space and expanding accessibility. Currently, exhibits are only offered on the first floor, but this could be expanded if the renovation project – estimated at $ 1.5 million – takes place.

“We want to do more,” Hix said. “We have over 4000 artefacts – this great museum offers [a] window on the past. We don’t want to forget these stories.

When the proposed renovation project was detailed in the spring, Hix suggested it could take 10 years to complete in phases. But the prospect of tying the project to the country’s impending semi-quincentennial – a word meaning ‘250 years’ that may or may not resonate with the public like ‘the bicentennial’ did in 1976 – might have precipitated his call for a timeline. faster.

Funding could come from individual, corporate, foundation and government sources, although historical society officials are still sorting out a strategy. A more definitive fundraising manual might be available when the organization holds its annual banquet in September.

Dr Mark Benbow, a historian who has served as a museum curator for the past decade, said there are so many stories to tell from the Native American era to the present day.

“I try to add more in every square inch,” he said of the nooks and crannies of the museum.

County board chairman Matt de Ferranti – one of three board members (along with Takis Karantonis and Katie Cristol) present – said the reopening of the museum was both a real and symbolic measure of l arrival of the nascent post-pandemic world.

“It’s a source of joy for all of us,” de Ferranti said of the opening. “It’s been a tough year, and it’s time to enjoy life. “

(De Ferranti, perhaps wisely, chose to deflect his remarks from the contentious issues of county history currently playing out in the civic arena. These, he said, were for one. in the past.)

Of the. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), a board member of the Arlington Historical Society, brought in a General Assembly resolution, delayed for a year due to the pandemic, marking the 100th anniversary of obtaining from its present name by Arlington.

For those who want the exact timeline:

• In 1801, part of Fairfax County was separated from Virginia and ceded to help create the District of Columbia. It included the county of Alexandria [now Arlington] and the city [now city] of Alexandria.

• In 1846-1847, the county and city of Alexandria returned to the sovereignty of Virginia.

• In 1870, the city of Alexandria became a city and was politically separated from the County of Alexandria. Alexandria County was governed by a three-member District Supervisory Board.

• In 1920, the General Assembly renamed Alexandria County Arlington County, partly to avoid confusion between the two jurisdictions and partly to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Robert E. Lee, who by marriage had inherited the Arlington House plantation.

• In 1932, Arlington’s board of directors was replaced by a five-member general county council and appointed county director.

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Located at 1805 Arlington Ridge Road, the Arlington Historical Museum will be open on its pre-pandemic weekend schedule: Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Free entry. For more information, see the website at

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