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 Nov 25, 2020 at 10:57 AM

The Alexandria Black History Museum

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.

Closures

The museums are closed and public programs are cancelled until further notice. 

Covid-19 Operation Guidelines  

The Office of Historic Alexandria established the following guidelines to ensure consistent operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff will regularly re-evaluate them through the remainder of 2020 based on available staffing levels and as the region moves through Phase 3 of the Forward Virginia plan. Includes guidelines for guided tours, volunteers, rentals, public programs and events, and on-site research and collections use by the public.

Covid-19 Operation Guidelines


STAY CONNECTED!

Sign up for eNews and join the  Alexandria Society for the Preservation of Black Heritage. Follow us on Historic Alexandria's social media.
City Facebook Page  Twitter Page   Historic Alexandria Instagram Historic Alexandria YouTube Channel

Virtual Tour

Visit us on Google 360 virtual tours:


.

While our lives today look different than generations past, winter still brings a common feeling of change. Even this year, when COVID 19 is changing much of what we do, colder days, longer nights, and holiday.


.

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. 


.

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.


.

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.


.

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.


.

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. 


.

As we experience this unprecedented time in the history of our town and the world, the Office of Historic Alexandria is embarking on a project to record our City’s response by conducting oral histories and collecting select memories, objects and documents from across the Alexandria community.


.

Museums are beginning to reopen in accordance with the Commonwealth’s Forward Virginia Plan. The Alexandria Archaeology Museum, Gadsby's Tavern Museum, and Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum are now open. Public programs are cancelled until further notice. Refer to the Calendar for the status of Commission and other departmental associated meetings.


.

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! 


.

On March 25, the City of Alexandria completed the purchase of the Freedom House Museum from the Northern Virginia Urban League (NVUL). This purchase will allow the City to preserve and interpret this National Historic Landmark and ensure it is open to the public for future generations.


.

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


.

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. 


.

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.


.

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.


.

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.


.

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.


.

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. 


.

The Ramsey Homes, a former public housing project on North Patrick Street, is being replaced by a mixed income community with low-income and market-rate units. The documentation of the history and architecture of the Ramsey Homes was undertaken as part of the historic preservation process required by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and can be viewed here. 


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


American Alliance of Museums logo 

American Alliance of Museums
Accredited Museum
 

Top