Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site

Fort Ward is the best preserved of the system of Union forts and batteries built to protect Washington, DC during the American Civil War (1861-1865).

Page updated on Mar 12, 2018 at 4:35 PM

Fort Ward Museum

Firing Drill, Civil War Camp DayFort Ward Museum interprets the site's history and offers exhibits on Civil War topics, education and interpretive programs, tours, lecture and video series, bus tours, and living history activities throughout the year. The Museum and Historic Site also interpret Alexandria, Virginia as an occupied city, the city's role as a vital Union Army crossroads, life within the Defenses of Washington, and the everyday life of Civil War soldiers and civilians.

The historic fort provides visitors with an excellent understanding of Civil War-era military engineering. About 90% of the fort's earthwork walls are preserved and the Northwest Bastion has been restored and reconstructed to its original condition.  

Virtual Tour

Visit the Fort Ward MuseumCeremonial Gate and Northwest Bastion on Google 360 virtual tours.


Civil War Kid's Camp is back by popular demand! This week of fun and learning is designed for boys and girls ages 8-12. Campers will be immersed in the lives of soldiers and civilians of the period. June 25-29, 2018, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily, rain or shine.


Exhibit closing soon! This exhibition features objects, photographs and documents from the Fort Ward Museum collection related to the Defenses of Washington. The exhibition covers both the formidable task of building the defense system, which made the Federal capital one of the most protected cities in the world, and some of the men who were assigned to duty in the Washington area. 


Come to Fort Ward and see a variety of medical tools, instruments, equipment and images from the Museum’s Civil War collection. Images and information related to some of Alexandria’s Union Army hospitals are also on view. The exhibit is accompanied by a brochure on medical care for the Civil War soldier. 


The Fort Ward Museum enlists the talents and knowledge of reenactors to offer numerous living history programs interpreting Civil War soldier and civilian life. Programs contribute to the public’s understanding of the period and enhance the Museum’s educational mission. Here are the resources you need to participate in an event.


The occupation of Alexandria by Union troops forever changed the social, cultural and economic fabric of the old seaport town. For four years (1861-1865) Alexandria was an occupied city; enduring the longest military occupation by Union troops of any town during the conflict. Learn more about Alexandria during the war with a wide range of historic resources.  


The goal of this project is to expand interpretation in Fort Ward Park to include the full range of its history, especially including the African American experience and the post-Civil War Fort community. Fort Ward's Civil War history will remain a core theme, but new elements will explore the legacy of that pivotal era. Consultants held a meeting on January 18 with the Fort Ward Interpretive Committee and the community to present initial approaches to this Plan. The public is invited to attend meetings of the Committee which are announced on the Calendar of Events for the City and the Office of Historic Alexandria.


Visit Fort Ward Park to see historic signage highlighting the post-Civil War African American community known as The Fort. A copy of The Fort Heritage Trail Brochure is available online. This community 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. Archaeological excavations in the park, historical research, and oral histories highlight our growing knowledge of this community. Learn about the  Stakeholder Advisory Group, and about archaeological and historical research, including reports on excavations and transcriptions of oral history interviews with former residents. 


A public walkway, which meets the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act, begins at the fort’s reconstructed entrance gate and leads visitors to the restored Northwest Bastion. 

Event Tickets

To purchase tickets to events at Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site, and to shop online, visit The Alexandria Shop. The Museum and Historic Fort are located within a 45-acre park, operated by the City of Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities. Picnic areas are available and may be reserved for groups by calling the Recreation department at 703.746.5405.

Museum, Park and Office Hours

Museum Hours 
Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m. 
Monday: Closed  

Closed: New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Please call for other holiday closings.

Please call for changes regarding weather related conditions. 

Park Hours 
Daily: 9 a.m. to sunset.

Office Hours 
Tuesday to Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Email Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site  

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