Facility Use

In 1868, construction of the Lee Chapel was completed under the supervision of Washington College President, Robert E. Lee. Known at the time as the "College Chapel," the building originally was designed for multiple-use as a chapel (although it was never consecrated), with administrative offices and a student center/library in the lower level. Today, 150 years later, the Lee Chapel continues its role as the University's largest meeting place. Its overriding purpose remains the support of the University's educational mission and administrative needs.

In 1929, a museum also was established in the building's lower level in response to ever-growing visitation to the burial site of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Since then the museum has served the general public as an exhibition and educational space. Its annual visitation now averages 40,000-50,000 tourists, 4000-4500 school children and other visitors. The role of the Lee Chapel Museum as community ambassador for the University and a public exhibition / education facility is second only to the Chapel's support of the University's needs. The museum and the auditorium, which includes the recumbent statue of Lee by Edward Valentine and the two historically significant portraits of George Washington and Robert E. Lee, constitute the area of our public tour.

In 1961, the Lee Chapel was designated a Registered National Historic Landmark. As such, the University is committed to the preservation and protection of this significant historic site. For more historical information, visit History on this web site.

General Policy for All Use of Lee Chapel

It is the policy of Washington and Lee University to permit University departments and University-sanctioned campus organizations use of designated areas in the Lee Chapel and Museum for activities that are confined to the programs of the University, the Lee Chapel Museum and those that relate directly to the University's overall educational, cultural and social goals.

Activities in the Chapel need not be religious in nature, but all events must respect the integrity of the space. Use of the Chapel is subject to procedures and guidelines necessary to protect the historic integrity of the site and its collections, as well as the safety and health of visitors and staff.

Use of these premises for non-University events, including weddings, is desirable, but only when such use:

  • does not compromise the site's function as a University venue and public museum
  • does not endanger the facilities or exhibits and is consistent with good community relations

The operation and control of the Lee Chapel & Museum is vested in the Museum Manager in accordance with approved policies and rates, subject to periodic review. The Lee Chapel Museum Manager reserves the right to deny a request judged not to be fully within the goals and intentions of this policy and guidelines.

A Lee Chapel Staff member is available to answer questions regarding Chapel reservations between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Because of other duties, an appointment should be scheduled in advance. Lee Chapel Museum Offices are located at #11 University Place, off of Letcher Avenue, across the street from Lee Chapel. Contact our staff at plarew@wlu.edu or 540-458-8768.

To check the availability of a date and time prior to calling the staff member, visit the full Lee Chapel calendar. For complete information on scheduling the Chapel, see Scheduling or Weddings as needed.

The Lee Chapel & Museum is open daily for tours:

  • April 1 through Oct. 31: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
  • Nov. 1 to March 31: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday; 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays
  • The Chapel is closed Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day thru the Saturday after, and Dec. 23-Jan.1