School Room

A blue room with desks and a globe.


“The Ways of Letters and Words”
Sewing was a constant chore for the women of Arlington House. Members of the Custis-Lee family and the enslaved community gathered here to make and mend clothing for the plantation’s residents. The Custis-Lee family also used this space as a schoolroom.

Mary Lee learned to read and write here, as did her seven children.The women of the family also taught enslaved workers to read,although it was against the law in Virginia.

Mary Fitzhugh Custis, George Washington Parke Custis’ wife, managed the household during her lifetime. She led both the sewing circle and reading lessons for the enslaved.

Found in the attic in 1928, this globe has never left the property. The family likely used it to teach geography, both to the Lee children and to the enslaved.

“It can never be wrong to teach them that Holy Book.”–George Washington Parke Custis

Arlington House First Floor Floorplan North Slave Quarters Museum Exhibit Miss Judy's Quarters Portico Bath and Water Closet Outer Hall Pantry Inner Hall Dining Room Store Room White Parlor Hunting Hall Conservatory School Room Morning Room Family Parlor Guest Chamber Custis Bedchamber Center Hall Office and Studio Selina Gray's Quarters Summer Kitchen / George Clark's Quarters South Slave Quarters museum exhibit Smokehouse

Last updated: June 17, 2021

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Mailing Address:

Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
700 George Washington Memorial Parkway
c/o Turkey Run Park

McLean, VA 22101


703 235-1530

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