City of Alexandria, VA
Page updated Apr 11, 2013 3:37 PM
Educational Resources & Events
Students, adults, groups and YOU can learn about this historic site and the Civil War in general from a variety of educational programs sponsored by Fort Ward Museum. Throughout the year Civil War lectures, changing exhibits, preservation workshops, bus tours and living history events encourage learning about this important period in American history.
Fort Ward offers a comprehensive educational kit called Life During the Civil War, designed for use by teachers in elementary through high school grades. This varied program contains a wide selection of materials to be explored by students in visual, tactile and audio form. A Teacher’s Guide Notebook contains lessons and exercises to be selected by the teacher for use in the classroom on themes such as the common soldier, photography during the Civil War, civilian response to military occupation, music during the war, and the role of women and African American soldiers.
The rich array of teaching resources includes primary source documents such as letters and soldiers’ narratives, photographs, slides which portray life in camp, and a music cassette tape of Civil War songs. Hands-on reproduction objects in the soldier’s haversack and lady’s purse are also featured. Through Life During the Civil War, students learn about the experiences and views of soldiers and civilians in both the North and South. The different sections of the program feature exercises, games, suggested reading lists and follow-up activities. Life During the Civil War may be borrowed by local teachers for two weeks for a fee of $15.00, or three weeks for $20.00. To make a reservation for the kit, please call 703.746.4848.
School groups, senior citizens groups and others may request guided tours of the fort and Museum by advance reservation. School tours usually last 1 ½ hours and cost $2.00 per student. Up to 60 students at one time can be accommodated. The fee for adult tours is also $2.00 per person. Call 703.746.4848 for information on student and group tours.
A new tour option has been added, called “Meet and Greet.” A 10-minute introduction/orientation by Museum staff is followed by a self-guided walking tour. Available Tuesday through Sunday for groups of a minimum of 12 persons. Suitable for adults and/or children. Works well for home school groups with a variety of student ages, scouts, family groups, clubs. Must be booked in advance. No charge.
Living History Events
The Civil War period comes to life at Fort Ward’s special events which feature historic interpreters in Civil War attire and living history demonstrations. Living history programs provide a close-up look at soldier life and an opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of daily life in a typical Union fort in the Defenses of Washington. At Civil War Camp Day, visitors observe camp life, watch soldiers drilling and parading, and meet and talk to soldiers and civilians in camp. At the annual Christmas in Camp holiday program, living history interpreters, both soldier and civilian, period decorations, and a Civil War period Thomas Nast Santa Claus are featured.
Learning Through Lectures
Fort Ward sponsors lectures for the public on Civil War and preservation topics. If you want to learn from conservation experts how to preserve and care for valued items such as family photographs, vintage documents, fine furniture and textiles, then look for notice of the "Home Care of Heirlooms and Collectibles" series sponsored by the Museum. Fort Ward also offers lectures and a symposium on Civil War subjects presented by writers and experts in the field. Past topics have included the colorful Zouave troops, medicine in the Civil War, women’s involvement, African American participation, Alexandria during the Civil War and tracing your Civil War ancestor. These programs are held in the Museum Library, usually by reservation. Please call 703.746.4848 for more information.
The Friends of Fort Ward group sponsors bus tours to Civil War sites in the Mid-Atlantic area. These popular tours are hosted by leading authorities and have included trips to Gettysburg, Cedar Creek Battlefield and Appomattox. Members of the Friends of Fort Ward and the public may participate, but early reservations are suggested.
Civil War Summer Camp
This week of fun and learning introduces children ages 8-12 to life during the Civil War. Activities include drilling, craft projects, Civil War food and music, visits by reenactors, nineteenth-century games, lessons on Civil War flags and setting up Civil War tents. Fee includes snacks, kepi, equipment and craft projects. Children should bring a bag lunch each day. Click here for more information and application.
Learn more about Fort Ward and the Defenses of Washington.