The National Park Service (NPS) is reopening Robert E. Lee’s mansion for public viewing after a three-year renovation period.
NPS issued a statement Tuesday announcing the reopening of the memorial, noting that it added new exhibits that display the 100 enslaved people who worked on Lee’s plantation.
The organization also connected with descendants of the enslaved workers to help with the history of the house.
Curators also acquired 1,300 antiques of Black history to be displayed at the house and restored more than 1,000 historic objects, according to the statement.
Philanthropist David M. Rubenstein donated $12.35 million in 2018 to NPS for the renovation of the mansion.
“The reopening of Arlington House provides a place for hard and important conversations that illuminate more perspectives, including the experiences of enslaved people and their descendants,” National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth said in the statement. “David Rubenstein’s generous gift to the National Park Foundation helped restore the plantation house and enslaved people’s living quarters and created new educational exhibits, inspiring people to reflect on the realities of our past, consider how it informs where we are today, and work together to create a more just and equitable future.”
The mansion was built by George Washington’s stepson George Washington Parke Custis as a memorial to his father. Robert E. Lee, who was commander of the Confederate States Army during the Civil War, moved into the mansion after marrying Custis’s daughter Mary Anna Randolph Custis, according to ABC News.