Arlington Historical Museum

The Arlington Historical Museum is open on Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 – 4:00 pm.  FREE! Please wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The Hume School has a unique history as a school and as a museum in Arlington.  See a video recorded in May 2021 discussing its history and AHS plans for the future. The video is titled: Hume School: Past, Present, and Future with a run time of 48 minutes.

Current Exhibit:

The current temporary exhibit “Stirring Up Memories: Arlington Cookbooks” remains up through the end of January 2022. This exhibit features cookbooks from churches, schools, and organizations from 1927 through the 21st century.

The Arlington Historical Museum has more than 30 cookbooks on display in this exhibit. The majority have been loaned to the museum by the community while a few are from the AHS artifact collection. All may stir up memories of cuisine, kitchens, and cooks.

The foodways of Arlington are rich and varied and reflect the diversity of the community. Perhaps nothing can capture this local flavor through the generations better than a collection of treasured cookbooks with favorite recipes. From churches and synagogues to schools and social groups, recipes of Arlingtonians help tell the delicious and dynamic story of food and cooking trends.

Cookbooks provide a historical archive of the community. Inside each are preserved the names of those who prepared the foods we love. Many document the histories of the organizations publishing the cookbook. Some have sketches or photos that capture familiar faces and places. Cookbooks also document good times like chili cook-offs and fellowship dinners, and people we came to know through worship or working together for shared service goals.

Permanent Exhibits

Permanent exhibits at the Arlington historical Museum cover Arlington from Native Americans to 9/11 and include:

  • Native Americans
  • The Ball-Sellers House
  • The Antebellum Era in Arlington
  • The Civil War
  • Industrialization in Arlington
  • World War II
  • The African-American Experience
  • The Arlington Brewery Company
  • Changes in 20th Century Technology
  • The Little Tea House
  • The Pentagon

Virtual Exhibits of the Arlington Historical Museum

AHS has made several temporary and permanent exhibits virtual so you can visit the museum online.  Our virtual exhibits enable you to see more images and artifacts from the AHS collection and learn more about each of them. 

Upton’s Hill: Many Layers of Arlington History

The impressive house that stood for generations atop Upton’s Hill symbolized the historic nature of the site, but Arlington history surrounds the house in many layers on the hill and around the hill. Through this exhibit, the Arlington Historical Society shows the historic nature of Upton’s Hill from top to bottom. This exhibit would not have been possible without the knowledge and expertise of Peter Vaselopulos who spoke at the AHS public program in April 2021. We also gratefully acknowledge artifact loans from Arlingtonians who prefer to remain anonymous. To see a video of the AHS monthly free public lecture held in April 2021 with Peter Vaselopulos please click on: Rediscovering Upton’s Hill History

Storymap: Images of Arlington in 1920 (Virtual Exhibit)

This interactive “Storymap” showcases photos of how Arlington looked in 1920, the year a state law changed its name from Alexandria County to Arlington. Coordinated by local columnist and history enthusiast Charlie Clark and numerous volunteers, the Storymap shows what Arlingtonians would have seen along local streets in 1920.  The Storymap uses software created by Esri of Redlands, California and it was designed by Arlington-based Blue Raster LLC. Click here for a look at what our forebears would have seen in Arlington in 1920:

1920s Arlington in a Dozen Objects (Virtual Exhibit)

In 1920, Alexandria County became Arlington County. View artifacts that give us a glimpse into what the county looked like and how we lived. 

Crepe Upon the Doors: Epidemics in Arlington County (Virtual Exhibit)

In today’s battle against COVID-19, the government asks us to shutter businesses, cultural facilities, and schools and it requests residents stay at home to stop the spread of this highly contagious pathogen. Epidemics have swept through America and Arlington in the past. In 1918, Arlingtonians confronted the deadly Spanish Influenza pandemic. This exhibit shows how our forebears coped with these devastating impacts.

Student Letters to Teacher Sally Loving (Virtual Exhibit)

Sally Loving was one of the original teachers at Washington-Lee (now Liberty) High School. She taught home economics and social studies from the opening of the high school in 1925 until her retirement in 1962. She received many letters  from students who, after graduation immediately went into the military to serve in World War II. Others served their country before or after World War II. These young men wrote to her from basic training, from hospital beds, and in moments of homesickness. Some sent doodles and drawings and all thanked her for her letters to them as a life line to home. Read how they dealt with serving in World War II and beyond.

A Short History of Voting in Arlington (Virtual Exhibit)

The way we vote has changed such since the end of the Civil War as we gradually move toward the democratic country our founders envisioned in the US Constitution. 

Winter Fun in Arlington (Virtual Exhibit)

At the end of each year the Arlington Historical Museum offers an exhibit that shows us some ways in which our forebears experienced the holidays. This year we look at how Arlingtonians had fun in the winter and we have some unique artifacts and photos to share. 

The African-American Experience in Arlington (Virtual Exhibit)

African Americans have played a foundational role in the creation, growth, and development of Arlington, Virginia. We seek to help honor Black History Month through artifacts that show some of the underrepresented history of the African American experience.

If you have an idea for an exhibit or any question, please email AHS at: Info@ArlingtonHistoricalSociety.org.

The Arlington Historical Museum, owned and operated by the Historical Society, is located at 1805 South Arlington Ridge Road, close to the Pentagon City and Crystal City metrorail stations. The two-story brick structure was built in 1891 as the Hume School, named for Frank Hume who gave property for the school. It is the oldest school building in Arlington County.

Following extensive renovation in the early 1960s, the building reopened as the Arlington Historical Museum. The building is designated a Virginia State Historical Landmark and is also on the National Register of Historic Sites. The Museum is open to the public year round on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 – 4 p.m.

  • If you would like to help AHS preserve and remodel the Arlington Historical Museum, please visit out DONATE page.  Every penny will go to good use and will be sincerely appreciated.
  • Want to volunteer as a museum docent, help with exhibits, preserving the Hume School building? Please contact us.
  • Were you a student at the Hume School? Please contact us.
  • Have an artifact to donate? Please email a description and/or photo to  info@arlingtonhistoricalsociety.org.

Directions to the Museum

View Driving Directions on Google Maps

From Washington, DC:

  • Go South on I-395 and take the exit to Arlington Ridge Road.
  • Turn right on Arlington Ridge Road.
  • Museum is one block on left.

From points south:

  • From South Glebe Road, turn north on Arlington Ridge Road.
  • After the traffic light at South 23rd Street, the museum will be on the right.