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 Sep 10, 2020 at 10:56 AM

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.  

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 Friends of Fort Ward. Follow us on Historic Alexandria's social media.
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Virtual Tour

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


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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. The public is invited to attend meetings of the Committee, announced on the  Calendar of Events. The latest design documents are posted here. Read the Fort Ward Interagency Annual Report for FY 2020.


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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. 


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Museums are beginning to reopen in accordance with the Commonwealth’s Forward Virginia Plan. The Alexandria Archaeology Museum, Alexandria History Museum at the Lyceum and Gadsby's Tavern 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.


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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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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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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.


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Location, hours, directions, and everything you need to know to visit Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site. No Admission Charge.
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On View through September 2020. This exhibit explores how soldiers and civilians in Civil War Washington lived and worked. View the desk and personal effects of an officer stationed in a camp outside Washington, see objects and eyewitness accounts of the only battle to take place in the Defenses of Washington, and learn how traces of the lives of soldiers and civilians are revealed in documents and photographs of the period.


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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. 


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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.


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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 with a wide range of historic resources.  


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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. 


Museum, Park and Office Hours

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

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

Park Hours 
Daily: 9 a.m. to sunset.

Office Hours 
Tuesday to Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. by appointment only.

Email the Museum

Email Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site  

Event Tickets 

To purchase tickets to events at Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site, and to shop online, visit The Alexandria Shop.

Park Reservations

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.



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