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 Jun 5, 2021 at 4:14 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.  

Museum Closures and Covid-19 Operational Guidelines

Many of the museums are closed and public programs are cancelled until further notice. Check the Historic Alexandria homepage to see the latest on which museums are now open.

The Office of Historic Alexandria established the following guidelines to ensure consistent operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff will regularly re-evaluate them based on safety and 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


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Virtual Tour

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


Some of the Historic Alexandria museums are closed until further notice. Luckily, history doesn’t stop just because our doors are closed! Visit us here on our website and follow us on social media to discover new things about your hometown.


What is happening at Fort Ward? Building improvements are underway starting with roof repairs and painting of the Museum, Officers' Hut, and Restroom building. Additional work includes renovation of the Museum restrooms, interior painting, as well as renovations of windows and doors. This extensive work will continue into January, with a goal of re-opening the Museum to visitors in early 2021.


The new Fort Ward brochure, Bastions of Freedom, won honorable mention in the SEMC (Southeastern Museums Conference) Publication Competition. The brochure provides information on significant sites throughout Fort Ward Park


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 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.


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.  


Over the past year, OHA has recorded our community's response to the pandemic by collecting objects, images and stories from citizens across the City. See a sampling of this public history collecting effort, and learn more about contributing to this on-going project. 


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.


Location, hours, directions, and everything you need to know to visit Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site. No Admission Charge.
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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.    

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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