The Arlington Historical Society has been working with John Milner Associates Preservation, a division of MTFA Architecture, who conducted a feasibility study of our museum located in the 1891 Hume School. Our beloved museum is the oldest standing school in the county and is on the National Register of Historic Places. AHS is committed to doing the work on this property to make it the first-class museum this great county deserves.
The feasibility study indicated that the museum building was structurally sound. However, extensive preservation work needs to be done to protect the building from further deterioration. Since the school was turned into the museum in the early 1960’s, no large-scale preservation effort has been underway. Instead, we have been able to use funding we were able to secure to address needs such as a new roof as the issues presented themselves. This “band-aid” approach has not allowed us to ensure that our 5,000+ artifacts are fully protected.
Most notably, the report stated that the building is need of window restoration. The windows have deteriorated, and some contain lead-based paint. The deterioration of the windows, combined with an outdated HVAC system will have a damaging effect on our artifact collection unless we address the issues. In addition, there are waterproofing strategies that have been previously put in place that need to be updated to protect the museum from ground water leakage. These are steps that AHS is undertaking this year.
The bid process for window refurbishment will be undertaken this summer (July 2022). The building has 67 windows and artifacts in storage are near almost every window so we will be moving the artifacts that are not currently on display offsite to storage space provided free by JBG SmithCares in nearby Crystal City. Volunteers recently assembled new shelving in this storage space that will enable curators to access artifacts for new exhibits.
The Milner study also recommended ways AHS could renovate the building that will make this museum a treasure for years to come. AHS plans to renovate the second floor to provide another large exhibit space and a meeting room. This renovation will include HVAC, electrical and plumbing upgrades. AHS will also be addressing accessibility issues including upgraded bathrooms and an elevator at the rear of the property to make sure all our visitors can access the entire building. To learn more about Hume School and this project go to https://arlingtonhistoricalsociety.org/2021/05/hume-school-past-present-and-future-2021/
While this preservation/renovation project seems daunting, we look to the leaders of AHS who came before us. In December of 1959, a proposal came to the newly formed AHS that they acquire the Hume School for a museum. At the time, the school had not been used for several years and was in seriously bad shape. In fact, one member was quoted as saying, “If we owned the property today, it would be ten years before we could get the money to put the building in shape for a museum”. And yet, by September 1963, the museum opened, due to the hard work and support of the members as well as the community. It is with that spirit we begin our journey. We are looking for your support. Arlington needs a first-class museum to share its history and together we can make that happen!
If you would like to donate to this preservation and renovation effort, please visit our secure donation site.
Thank you for your support!