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On Saturday, December 20, from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Lee Center complex, at 1108 Jefferson St., will be closed due to building system upgrades.

City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
The Lyceum Alexandria's History Museum
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Page updated Dec 18, 2014 4:54 PM

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Print of The Lyceum as the McGuire House

Holiday Closures, Decorating, and 30% off Christmas Items in the Shop!

Holiday Closures

The Lyceum will be closed to the public on Thursday, November 27 for Thanksgiving, on Wednesday, December 24 and Thursday, December 25 for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and on Thursday, January 1 for New Year's Day.

Image: Cover of an early 20th-c. Christmas card featuring The Lyceum, sent by then-owners Dr. Hugh and Sara McGuire.  The Lyceum Collection, gift of Mrs. Johnson McGuire.

The Feather Tree

On view now, our feather tree makes an annual holiday appearance at The Lyceum. Come see it during your next visit!

The Lyceum's Feather Tree with Illustration(2)About Christmas Trees in Virginia:

The Christmas tree originated in Germany.  In Virginia, the decorated trees began to be featured in Christmas celebrations in the middle of the 19th century.  One of the first on record was set up in 1842 by Charles Minnegrode, a German instructor at the College of William & Mary.

Prince Albert introduced England to Christmas trees with his marriage to Queen Victoria.  An illustration of the Royal Family with a tree, from the Illustrated London News in 1848, was copied by American publications and helped to popularize the custom in the United States.

As Christmas trees became popular, people became concerned about the depletion of woodlands.  This led to the development of feather trees during the latter half of the 19th century.  German immigrants introduced them in the United States.

Goose feathers were the preferred feather for these trees.  To make the branches, feathers were wrapped around stiff wire and attached to a wooden rod, or “trunk,” which was inserted into a wooden base.  Red berries or candle holders were placed at the end of the branches.

Tree:  Christmas Treasures, reproduction

Illustration:  “A Beautiful Representation of a Christmas Tree”, Gleason’s Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, 1852, photograph courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Holiday Items and Sale in the Historic Alexandria Museum Store

Historic Alexandria Store Holiday ItemsStill looking for the perfect gift? The Historic Alexandria Store has something for everyone on your list. And now we are offering 30% off all Christmas items! (Excluding Historic Alexandria Ornaments)

We have whimsical and traditional holiday cards, holiday tea towels and soaps, Christmas crackers and ornaments, and more. The Historic Alexandria Store has the largest selection of Historic Alexandria Ornaments in Old Town, including the new 2014 ornament commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Freedmen's Cemetery’s first burial and the memorial’s official opening this September. The ornament features a rendering of Mario Chiodo’s statue, The Path of Thorns and Roses, framed by the memorial’s entrance gate. We also have ornaments by local artist Patricia Palermino.

If you missed author Daniel Gifford’s lecture earlier this month, you can pick up his book American Holiday Postcards, 1905-1915: Imagery and Context, new to our store this year.  Browse our selection of books, children’s toys, and other local gift items. We look forward to seeing you soon! Freedmen's Cemetery Ornament 2014

Pat Palermino Ramsay House Ornament 

The Lyceum:
Alexandria's History Museum
201 S. Washington Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Fax: 703.838.4997

Museum Hours
Monday - Saturday
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, 1 - 5 p.m.
.Admission - $2.00

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
by appointment only