For the past eight months, the Arlington Historical Society has been working with John Milner Associates Preservation, a division of MTFA Architecture, to conduct 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 does need to be done to protect the building from further deterioration. Since the school was turned into the museum in the 1960’s, there has not been a large-scale preservation effort. 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 will no longer allow us to make sure our 4,000+ artifacts are protected.
Several preservation needs were addressed by the report. Most notably, there is a need for restoration of the windows throughout the museum. These windows have deteriorated, and some contain lead-based paint. The deterioration of the windows, combined with an outdated HVAC system can have a damaging effect on our artifact collection unless we address the issues.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.
In addition to preservation, we are also focused on renovations that will make this museum a treasure for years to come. Currently, the largest use of space in our museum is for storage due to our ever-growing artifact collection. We will be seeking off-site storage space and then plan to renovate the second floor to provide another large exhibit space and a meeting room. This renovation will include HVAC, electric and plumbing upgrades. We 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!