Arlington Historical Museum

The Arlington Historical Society reopened on July 4, 2021 with an open house for the public. The museum is open on Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. 

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: Upton’s Hill: Many Layers of Arlington History at One Site

Come visit! or read more about the Upton’s Hill exhibit here. 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 around and below the site of the house. Through this exhibit, the Arlington Historical Society shows the historic nature of Upton’s Hill from top to bottom.

Permanent exhibits 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
  • World War II
  • The African-American Experience
  • The Arlington Brewery Company
  • Changes in 20th Century Technology
  • The Little Tea House
  • Pentagon Construction

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.  Our current temporary exhibit is

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.