Gadsby’s Tavern Museum

The two 18th-century taverns that make up Gadsby’s Tavern Museum capture the changing landscape of the early United States. Through tours, programs, and special events, learn about this complex time.

Page updated on May 14, 2021 at 5:23 PM

Gadsby's Tavern Museum

Gadsby's Tavern ExteriorGadsby's Tavern Museum consists of two buildings, a ca. 1785 tavern and the 1792 City Tavern and Hotel. In those seven short years, the young Republic began to take shape through the conversations and choices being made in these tavern spaces. The impact of these choices and how far to extend power—political, economic, and social—is still being felt today. Named for Englishman John Gadsby who operated them from 1796 to 1808, the tavern businesses were central to Alexandria’s port-based economy, offering spaces to dine, entertain, and spend the night. A large enslaved labor force made Gadsby’s renowned hospitality possible. Notable patrons that enjoyed this hospitality included George and Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the marquis de Lafayette.

Tour Gadsby's Tavern Museum Online

The tour of these two taverns - the 1785 tavern and the 1792 City Tavern - explores power in the new Republic and its impact on people.

Museum Closures and Covid-19 Operational Guidelines

Gadsby's Tavern Museum is now open, but some of our other 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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Join us this summer for a historic time! Historic Alexandria has created unique virtual programs for rising 6th through 9th graders. Cost is $130 per week, which includes daily live virtual instruction from 10-11:30am and additional activities to complete outside of class. Scholarships available. To register and get additional information, visit The Alexandria Shop. All Sales are Final.


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May is Historic Preservation Month. This year, Historic Alexandria and its partners are focusing on Equity in Preservation. We invite you to our lectures on the free Black population of Alexandria before the Civil War; the demographic evolution of the District of Columbia, of which Alexandria was once a part; a history of Franklin and Armfield, the notorious slave trading firm that once operated out of what is now the Freedom House Museum; and housing practices in Alexandria from the Civil War until today. You can also join masked and socially-distanced walking tours of Alexandria's historic buildings.


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Gadsby’s Tavern Museum is now open Thursday through Sunday. Learn more about initial hours, timed tickets, and safety measures.


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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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The Historic Ice Well at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum offers a glimpse into early Alexandria’s commercial and social history. An important and rare example of a commercial well in an urban environment, it provided the tavern with a ready supply of ice to cool beverages or help make the new desert of the day, ice cream.


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Immerse yourself in the spaces and the stories of the tavern! Developed based on feedback from guests over the past two years, this new experience allows you to journey through the museum at your own pace. Funded by Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Society.


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Experience the museum independently at your pace, or join us on an In-depth guided tour. Discounts are available to AAA Members and to visitors who have dined at Gadsby's Tavern Restaurant. Admission is free for members of the  Gadsby's Tavern Museum Society, AAM members,  HHMC member organizations, and Alexandria City Employees.


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Meet in the same room George Washington met in...Drink in the same room Thomas Jefferson drank in. Gadsby's Tavern Museum was the center of Alexandria’s social scene in the 18th century -- and now these historic rooms are available to you and your guests for your own historic event!  


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Gadsby’s Tavern Museum supports educators in classrooms, in homes, and within organizations. Our on-site programs range from special tours and hands-on activities to lectures and living-history opportunities. Education programs and educational outreach kits can be tailored to meet the needs of your specific group!


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Step back in time and enjoy our historic hospitality through the period dance program! Prepare for the next ball with dance classes and spend a lively evening exercising your skills at a formal period ball. Whether you dance the night away or just tap your toes, recall Philip Fithian’s 1774 saying: “Virginians are of genuine Blood. They will dance or die!” 


Museum and Office Hours

Museum Hours
Thursday 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Friday 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday 1 – 5 p.m.

Closed
New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas 

Office Hours
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., by appointment only.

Email the Museum

Email Gadsby's Tavern Museum

Event Tickets

To purchase tickets to events at Gadsby's Tavern Museum and to shop online, visit The Alexandria Shop. Visit the Historic Alexandria Calendar for a full list of events.

Other Important Links


National Historic Landmark  |  National Register of Historic Places 

American Alliance of Museums logo  National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom logo Save America's Treasures

 

American Alliance of Museums
Accredited Museum 
 

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