Arlington Historical Society

EIN: 54-0920730

Mission Statement

Our mission is to improve our community by building knowledge of our diverse history.

The Arlington Historical Society, founded in 1956, is a nonprofit educational organization incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Arlington Historical Society conducts research to preserve and disseminate knowledge relating to the history, archaeology, material culture, geography,  and socio-economic development of Arlington County, Virginia.

Program Summary

The society fulfills its mission by providing historic resources for the community, including two historic properties (the Arlington Historical Museum) and its artifact collection; original historical research (such as the Memorializing the Enslaved in Arlington project) and publications (including an annual scholarly magazine); the discovery, collection, preservation and exhibition of artifacts; and the presentation and dissemination of knowledge on the local history of Arlington County (through both recurring monthly events as well as individual community events), and all of this is free to the public.

Impact Statement

AHS builds community by spreading awareness and appreciation of our shared history. 

Our museums reach life-long residents, newcomers who want to learn about their new community and out of town guests who learn about Arlington’s role in just about every aspect of US history. 

Our current project, Memorializing the Enslaved in Arlington involves original research of the enslaved in Arlington, including their names (where available from the historic record), their occupations and place of enslavement.  This information is available on our website, and it is made accessible to the public through community events and through “stumbling stones” which are markers that will be placed throughout the community to commerate the lives of the enslaved. We are working with Arlington County Public Schools to produce the stumbling stones and the County to place the stumbling stones.  The first three of an estimated 1400 have been produced and placed as a pilot program, and more will be produced and placed this fall.

Additionally, AHS is actively involved in community outreach and many people gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of our county’s history through our monthly events, special events at our museums and our involvement with numerous civic and other community events.

What ways can the public get involved?

  • Become a member: membership starts at $35. Get monthly email, quarterly newsletter, annual Arlington Historical Magazine, and 10% discount on any AHS purchase.
  • Donate artifacts of Arlington history. Help us tell Arlington’s story.
  • Donate financial support for the work of AHS and preservation of our two museums.
  • Volunteer with AHS in any of our wide variety of opportunities. We’ll help you find something you’ll find rewarding and fun.

How are charitable dollars spent? Where does my donation go?

AHS has no paid staff, and virtually all money raised goes directly into our program. Our significant expenditures include operating and maintaining our two historic properties, the oldest extant school building in the county and the oldest extant structure in the county, maintaining our artifact collection, holding our events and educating the public through our digital and physical content.

Currently, we have significant fundraising efforts to preserve and transform the Arlington Historical Museum, housed in the historic 1891 Hume School. Space previously used for storage will be transformed into community space that will be used as a center for history education, presentations, co-curated exhibits that highlight our rich diversity, and for general community use.  We are also raising money for the stumbling stones for the Memorializing the Enslaved in Arlington program.

A photo of the Arlington historical society building.

Information provided April 2024