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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Historic Alexandria
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Page updated Jan 25, 2013 2:27 PM
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Welcome to Historic Alexandria! With more than 250 years of history and hospitality to its credit, Alexandria offers an array of historic and cultural attractions. Alexandria's many historic homes, churches, businesses and museums allow residents and visitors alike to experience the hand of the past that makes our city the charming and historic town it is today. Visit City of Alexandria museums and historic sites and discover our pastpresent and future!

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This Week in Historic Alexandria

Kick off Memorial Day and  the first unofficial week of summer with great exhibits and programs at our City’s great museums!  This week’s activities and events feature music, dancing. lectures, children’s stories, Colonial foods, a family-style archaeological dig and a once-in-a-lifetime “Lafayette Day”, where you’ll enjoy free admission to eight museum open houses, centered around Revolutionary War Hero, the Marquis de Layfayette, and the upcoming visit to Alexandria of the French ship L’Hermione (Pronounced lur-mee-on)  and the official launch of Tides of Revolution: the Hermione Game, a virtual, web-based adventure that provides a first-hand experience of 18th century discovery and learning.



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The War of 1812 Bicentennial
The War of 1812 and the five-day occupation of Alexandria by British forces in 1814, had a profound effect on the town and its economy. Threatened with an invasion and with insufficient forces to defend the city, Alexandria’s Common Council surrendered to the British without resistance. The city avoided being burned, but the was required to surrender contents of stores and warehouses. Learn more about how the War and occupation affected Alexandria, view objects from the Historic Alexandria collections, commemorate the Bicentennial with a series of events, and learn about the Signature Event, a History Festival that took place in August 2014.
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Civil War 150th Commemoration

Witness to war and reunion, Alexandria's place in Civil War history is truly unique and to help tell the story of the City's Civil War past, the Office of Historic Alexandria is holding many special events and exhibitions throughout the Sesquicentennial, Download the new Civil War iPhone app, check out the Calendar of Events for the latest information, visit Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site, explore Alexandria's Civil Defenses of Washington by bike, and find out about the Contrabands and Freedmen's Cemetery. To learn about Alexandria during the Civil War, Witness to War and Reunion brings together historic resources, including First Person Accounts, that provide some insight into the War and its effect on Alexandria and its inhabitants.

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Historic Alexandria Museum Store

Visit the Historic Alexandria Museum Store, online and at two convenient locations. The shops offers great gift ideas, a wide variety of Alexandria-related merchandise and the very best selections from all the Historic Alexandria museum stores. Your purchases support programming at Historic Alexandria's museums.  

  • Main Store at The Lyceum: Alexandria's History Museum, 201 S. Washington Street
  • Satellite Shop at the Alexandria Hilton, 1767 King Street 
  • Online at The Alexandria Shop.
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New Publication: Gadsby's Tavern

The newest Office of Historic Alexandria publication is Gadsby’s Tavern by museum director Gretchen Bulova.  This Images of America Series publication by Arcadia features the 20th century preservation story of historic Gadsby’s Tavern, and details the people and organizations that were involved in its being saved today as a National Historic Landmark. The book is available May 4th and will be available in the gift shops of Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, The Lyceum, and the Historic Alexandria Museum Store at the Old Town Hilton.  It can also be purchased online at The Alexandria ShopGadsby’s Tavern retails for 21.99.

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Historic Alexandria Educational Resources
Alexandria offers educators the unique opportunity to reinforce their teaching with hands-on experiences, field trips, lectures, educational kits and other media resources. These programs are designed to foster interest in the history and culture of Alexandria from colonial times to the present.
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Contrabands & Freedmen Cemetery Memorial Now Open

The Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial was officially opened on September 6, 2014. Learn about the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial history and archaeology of the site, view the extensive news coverage of the commemoration ceremonies, and watch short videos about the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial on Comcast Newsmakers, of interviews with Char McCargo Bah, Audrey Davis and Francine Bromberg.

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The Fort: A Post-Civil War African American Community

Visit Fort Ward Park to see new historic signage highlighting the post-Civil War African American community known as The Fort. A copy of The Fort Heritage Trail Brochure is available online. This community is the focus of an effort by the Office of Historic Alexandria to study and preserve the post-Civil War historic resources of Fort Ward Park. Archaeological excavations in the park, historical research, and oral histories highlight our growing knowledge of this community. Learn about the Stakeholder Advisory Group, and about archaeological and historical research, including reports on excavations, transcriptions of oral history interviews with former residents. 

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Self-Guided Tours

Explore Alexandria's Civil War heritage with a free iPHone app, find out about an array of historic and cultural attractions, go on a scavenger hunt, and walk or bike a part of the Alexandria Heritage Trail.

 

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Historic Alexandria Birthday Parties

Make your child's birthday a historic occasion, with a party at one of several historic museums in Alexandria, including the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary, the Friendship Firehouse, and Gadsby's Tavern.

You can also schedule tours and programs at all of the Historic Alexandria Museums for school groups, scout groups, homeschool families, and camps, as well as for adults.

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Seven of the city's premier historic sites are owned and operated by the City of Alexandria and fall under the administration of the Office of Historic Alexandria, the department of City government charged with the conservation, interpretation and promotion of these links to the past.

These sites - Alexandria Black History MuseumAlexandria Archaeology MuseumFort Ward Museum & Historic SiteFriendship Firehouse MuseumGadsby's Tavern MuseumThe Lyceum: Alexandria's History Museum, and the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum - bring Alexandria's varied and storied history to life. Additionally, Alexandria has many more historic sites which are open to the public and tell a significant part of the city's historical tale.

The Office of Historic Alexandria has received accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums.


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American Alliance of Museums
Accredited Museum