About the Reston Historic Trust & Museum
The Reston Historic Trust & Museum (RHT) is a community organization that preserves the past, informs the present, and influences the future of Reston through its exhibits, public programs, and events including the Reston Home Tour, Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta, and Founder's Day. Museum admission is free.
Join the Reston Historic Trust & Museum as a member or donate today and you will help preserve Reston's history and will be supporting our mission to educate and engage the public with Reston's unique history. You will also receive discounts at the museum and other businesses at Lake Anne Plaza.
The Reston Museum has a collection of materials related to Reston's history, development, architecture, government, culture, and social life from 1965 to the present. These materials include planning and historical documents, newspaper articles, magazine articles, newspapers and magazines, documents relating to the civic, social and cultural life of Reston, photographs, and manuscripts. They are catalogued by decade and arranged by type of document. You can view the materials by visiting the Reston Museum, or see the Reston Museum Collection listing. Click here to see the Reston Museum Collection Listing. You can also find information on Reston at the George Mason University Special Collections and Archives.
The Reston Museum first opened its doors on Lake Anne Plaza in November 1997 in the space that was once the Carter Glass Library. The Museum was the physical manifestation of the Reston Historic Trust, created earlier that year.The Reston Historic Trust has kept the Museum operating in the same space for more than 20 years.
The initial idea for the Reston Museum came from Sarah Larson and Susann Gerstein, who were inspired by the recent designation of Lake Anne Plaza as a Fairfax County historic district. Larson thought that public events based on Reston’s history would attract more visitors to the Plaza. In 1996, the two women formed the Lake Anne Historic District Task Force, and with input from a number of prominent citizens, their effort began to reach beyond Lake Anne to include all of Reston’s many and diverse neighborhoods.
In February 1997, Larson and Gerstein announced the formation of the Reston Historic Trust and its goal to open a museum. When the Museum opened its door later that year, its exhibits included the famous Reston Model, formerly used in the visitors’ center. The 8-foot by 11-foot model had to be dismantled, transported, and reassembled. That detailed model of Reston in 1990 has been cleaned and put under a plastic cover for the Museum’s reopening. Featured as well was a quilt in hues of brown and blue made by 100 Langston Hughes eighth graders, commemorating Reston’s 30th anniversary. The Museum also launched a series of programs, including art workshops and lectures.
In 2004, RHT received a Housing and Urban Development grant for $250,000 to overhaul the physical space. This included upgrading the HVAC system, creating a handicap bathroom, and redesigning the interior. Miller Architects provided the design, Karen Noel, a retired architect, designed the interior, and Jeanne Krohn of Krohn Design was the exhibit designer. Recycled materials were used when possible. Volunteers supported the museums efforts to paint and renovate the space.
The Reston Museum’s Grand Reopening took place September of 2009. Robert E. Simon, Lynn Lilienthal (a board member to this day), Pat Hynes, Vicky Wingert, Plum, and Janet Howell performed the ribbon cutting.
Over the years the Museum’s collection of artifacts, written materials, photographs, exhibits, and art has continued to expand. Our rehabilitation in 2009 created a modern space with exhibits showcasing Reston’s history in new, dynamic, and interactive ways.