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 Feb 19, 2020 at 7:41 PM

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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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.


Join us for a series of four free lectures with historian Susan Strasser supporting the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project. These public programs support the Equal Justice Initiative. Lectures will take place on March 14, April 25, May 30 and June 27, 2020.


Black History Month is an annual recognition and celebration of the history, achievements and contributions of African Americans and persons of African descent in U.S. history. The City of Alexandria invites the public to celebrate Black History Month through special events and activities throughout February.


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. 


An exhibition highlighting the history of Alexandria's contraband population (escaped slaves) during the Civil War. This 2014 exhibit returned in honor of the 5th anniversary of Alexandria's Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery and Memorial dedication in 2019. The exhibition has been extended through April 2020.


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 City of Alexandria and the Northern Virginia Urban League (NVUL) reached an agreement on December 31 for the City to purchase the Freedom House Museum in order to preserve and interpret this National Historic Landmark for future generations. The museum is open Fridays and Saturdays 1-5 p.m. In February, the museum will also be open Sunday 1-5 p.m. for Black History Month. 


The Museum at 1315 Duke Street was once the headquarters and holding pen for the largest domestic slave trading firm in the United States. The building is currently owned by the Northern Virginia Urban League and together with the Office of Historic Alexandria, 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