City of Alexandria, VA
Page updated Jan 28, 2011 10:50 AM
The Lyceum Collections
The Lyceum's collection includes the original 1839 lyceum building as well as over 5,000 objects related to the history of Alexandria, Virginia. In 1992, The Lyceum achieved accreditation by the American Association of Museums, a distinction awarded to the nation's leading museums.
The original lyceum building is the museum's most treasured artifact, representing one of the country's best examples of Greek Revival architecture. Since its construction more than 150 years ago, The Lyceum has been used as a cultural center, a barracks and hospital, a private residence, an office building and Virginia's first Bicentennial Center. The early history of the building is told in an interpretive display located in the museum's Lecture Hall.
Although Alexandria is fortunate to have several specialized museums, The Lyceum is the only one that collects and interprets artifacts and history from all periods of the City's past, from the periods before its founding in 1749 through the present day. The collection includes architectural fragments removed from the building during renovation, furniture, textiles, ceramics, silver, glass, records from Alexandria businesses, tools, art, newspapers, toys and almost anything else that would help to tell the community's story.
The Lyceum collects artifacts representing all time periods of Alexandria and the surrounding region's past, as well as objects relevant for interpreting The Lyceum as a historic site. If you know of any artifacts that would be of interest to the museum, please contact the museum's Curator for more information at 703.746.4994.
Particular strengths of the collection are:
The Howard W. Smith, Jr. Silver Collection forms the core of The Lyceum’s collection of locally made silver. This remarkable collection of 18th- and 19th-century silver from Alexandria and District of Columbia silversmiths was donated to the Museum in 2004 by the estate of Howard W. Smith, Jr., and was the focus of an exhibit, An Alexandria Legacy: The Howard W. Smith, Jr. Silver Collection, which ran from November 26, 2004 - March 27, 2005.