Alexandria Black History Museum

The mission of the Black History Museum is to enrich the lives of Alexandria's residents and visitors, to foster tolerance and understanding among all cultures and to stimulate appreciation of the diversity of the African American experience.

Page updated on Jul 21, 2021 at 2:17 PM

The Alexandria Black History Museum

The Museum is closed for renovation until further notice.

The Alexandria Black History Museum includes the Museum, the Watson Reading Room, and the Alexandria African American Heritage Park. Other African American historic sites in Alexandria include the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial, and the Freedom House Museum.

Covid-19 Operational Guidelines

OHA established the following guidelines to ensure consistent operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. All museums are participating in the ALX Promise Gold program. Staff will regularly re-evaluate these guidelines throughout 2021, based on guidance from the CDC, Commonwealth of Virginia, and the Virginia Health Department.


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Virtual Tour

Visit us on Google 360 virtual tours:


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Join Historic Alexandria in honoring Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial’s inclusion in the African American Civil Rights Network (AACRN). The free dedication will include a wreath laying by the 31st Masonic District, a reading by representatives of the United States Colored Troops (USCT), and remarks by Reverend Taft Quincey Heatley. The ceremony will take place July 24, 8-9 a.m. rain or shine. Seating is limited.


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Virtual Lecture by LaNitra M. Berger, Tuesday, August 3. This lecture will discuss how lynching photography and representations of lynching in American art provide historical information and context for racial violence in the United States. We will also discuss how lynching photography has shaped our understanding of depictions of racial violence in contemporary society. Sponsored by the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project.


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The Alexandria Black History Museum is excited to announce that we are the proud recipient of a $243,356 grant from the IMLS Museum Grants for African American History and Culture that will partially fund a multiple year project to digitize, interpret, and make four important archival collections publicly accessible.


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Preserving Their Names is the new online exhibition showing objects and digital photographs from the Black Lives Remembered Collection. Illustrated with material donated via The Legacy of George Floyd Collecting Initiative, the exhibition documents some of the ways the local community responded to the tragic murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. New submissions to the collecting initiative are still received here. Read a statement on the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd.


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The Alexandria Black History Museum’s The Moss Kendrix Collection was a 2020 honoree in the Virginia Association of Museums’ Top 10 Endangered Artifacts.



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The Parker-Gray School provided African American children with comprehensive education at a time when segregation and lack of resources, teachers, and facilities threatened what is now understood as a fundamental right of every child. On the 100th anniversary of Alexandria’s Parker-Gray High School, the City of Alexandria joined the Alexandria African-American Hall of Fame and Parker-Gray Alumni in commemorating this historical legacy. 


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Story Time with Young Historians is presented by the Alexandria Black History Museum. Each video features a picture book that introduces history and promotes diversity for young readers. A Museum Educator provides historical context and local community connections. New videos released the first Tuesday of every month. 


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Alexandria’s African American history is told through an online StoryMap and can be experienced in-home on your computer or on your smartphone as you walk the trail along the Potomac River. The walking trail lasts about 45 minutes at a leisurely pace. The webpage presents more in-depth information about the stops highlighted in the StoryMap.


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While the Alexandria Black History Museum is closed, you can still engage with paintings from Sherry Z. Sanabria featured in our exhibition "Before the Spirits are Swept Away.." Through Sanabria's artistic lens, explore the vanishing landscape of slave housing in America. In these paintings, she seeks to capture the spirt of the place and the people who inhabited these spaces. The paintings are available to view through our Online Collections.


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The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama includes over 800 steel monuments, one for each county in the United States where a racial terror lynching took place. Their Community Remembrance Project invites jurisdictions to claim and install a copy of their monument. The City of Alexandria is committed to claiming Alexandria’s monument in partnership with EJI.


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Peaceful vigils, protests and other events took place in Alexandria during the first week in June, following the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. Recognizing the importance of this moment in history, the Office of Historic Alexandria invites the community to share signs, t-shirts, flyers, photographs, journals, personal stories, and artifacts that document local vigils and protests. 


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Over the past year, OHA has recorded our community's response to the pandemic by collecting objects, images and stories from citizens across the City. See a sampling of this public history collecting effort, and learn more about contributing to this on-going project. 


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Miss visiting your favorite Historic Alexandria sites? Looking for some fun historic activities to share with your kids at home? Let our staff bring history virtually to you! 


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Location, hours, directions, and everything you need to know to visit the Alexandria Black History Museum. Open Tuesday to Saturday. 
Parking and Trolley Map | Print an eCoupon


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The Museum at 1315 Duke Street was once the headquarters and holding pen for the largest domestic slave trading firm in the United States. We invite you to visit the museum in this historic reminder of slavery. 


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Alexandria Black History Museum incorporates the Robert H. Robinson Library as one of two exhibition galleries. The Robinson Library was originally constructed in 1940 following a sit-in at the segregated Alexandria Library. Learn more about the Sit-Down Strike, the Parker-Gray School and the Alexandria Black History Research Center.


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Watson Reading Room, established in 1995, provides an environment for learning about the diversity of African American cultural traditions. Located next door to the Alexandria Black History Museum, the Watson Reading Room is a non-circulating research repository focusing on issues of African-American history and culture.


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This nine-acre green space and wetland includes a 19th century African American cemetery. The focal point of the park is a sculpture group of bronze trees called "Truths That Rise From the Roots Remembered." The Park, located at 500 Holland Lane just south of Duke Street, offers a place for celebration, commemoration and quiet reflection.


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The Memorial, at 1001 S. Washington Street, served as the burial place for about 1,800 African Americans who fled to Alexandria to escape from bondage during the Civil War. The Memorial opened in 2014 to honor the memory of the Freedmen, the hardships they faced, and their contributions to the City.


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Visit Fort Ward Park to see historic signage highlighting the post-Civil War African American community known as The Fort. The Fort 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. 


Museum and Office Hours

Note: the museums and offices are closed and public programs are cancelled until further notice.    

Closed
New Year's Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas

Office Hours 
Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. by appointment. 

Museum Archives 
Open by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, contact the museum’s curators at 703.746.4356 or by  email

Email the Museum

Email the Black History Museum

Event Tickets 

To purchase tickets to events at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum, and to shop online, visit The Alexandria Shop


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