Billionaire philanthropist David M. Rubenstein donated $12.35 million Thursday to rehabilitate Robert E. Lee’s historic mansion on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.
David M. Rubenstein donated $12.35 million to restore the Confederate general’s Greek Revival-style Arlington House in what is expected to be a 30-month restoration project, according to a release from the National Park Service issued Thursday.
With 650,000 visitors per year, Arlington House is the most visited historic house museum in the national park system. The residence, which was originally constructed to memorialize George Washington and served as the home of Robert E. Lee and his family before the Civil War, will be restored to the way it was in 1860 “with every room restored to its historical appearance.”
“I am honored to support the National Park Service’s renovation of historic Arlington House built in honor of George Washington and located on hallowed ground atop Arlington National Cemetery,” Rubenstein said in a statement. “I hope that upon its restoration, Arlington House will appropriately remind visitors of America’s rich history and our country’s good fortune to have such a unique site to honor our veterans, especially those who gave the last full measure of devotion on behalf of this nation.”
Rubenstein has previously donated $50 million for an addition to the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, $4.5 million to the National Zoo’s panda reproduction program and $7.5 million to repair the Washington Monument after damages caused by a 2011 earthquake. Early this year, Rubenstein donated $5.4 million toward renovations of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery and $10 million to George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the Washington Business Journal reports.