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 May 29, 2020 at 11:27 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.


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Virtual Tour

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In compliance with the governor’s Stay-at-Home order, the Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA) sites are closed and public programs are cancelled until further notice. The Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum will reopen first when Northern Virginia enters Phase II of the Commonwealth’s Forward Virginia Plan in mid-to-late June. 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.


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.


Artist Sherry Sanabria’s African American historic site paintings are on display in the Museum's Robert Robinson Gallery. These paintings are part of Sanabria’s “Sites of Conscience” series, which takes viewers to places of horror, places of pain and suffering, places we want to forget, but never should. 


Bring your little learners to the Alexandria Black History Museum for cultural stories and creative craft activities that introduce world history and folklore. Story time will take place every first Saturday of the month at 11 a.m. in the Watson Reading Room (located next door to the museum.) All ages are welcome, but most suitable for children 3 – 6 years old. Suggested $3.00 donation.


Location, hours, directions, and everything you need to know to visit the Alexandria Black History Museum. Open Tuesday to Saturday. 
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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. 


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

Museum Hours 
Tuesday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Sunday and Monday: Closed 
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. and 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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American Alliance of Museums
Accredited Museum