Gadsby’s Tavern Museum

Take a moment to journey back to the 18th-century tavern and hotel where famous historical figures and everyday people dined and slept. Through tours, program, and special events, learn about the history, architecture, decorative arts, social customs, food, and clothing of this changing time in American history.

Page updated on Apr 19, 2018 at 3:00 PM

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum

Gadsby's Tavern ExteriorGadsby's Tavern Museum consists of two buildings, a ca. 1785 tavern and the 1792 City Hotel. The buildings are named for Englishman John Gadsby who operated them from 1796 to 1808. Mr. Gadsby's establishment was a center of political, business, and social life in early Alexandria. The tavern was the setting for dancing assemblies, theatrical and musical performances, and meetings of local organizations. George Washington enjoyed the hospitality provided by tavernkeepers and twice attended the annual Birthnight Ball held in his honor. Other prominent patrons included John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and the Marquis de 

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Help the Gadsby's Scouts! Say hello to Scout Callie, Michele, and Liz – the Gadsby Scouts! During Spring2ACTion, they are striving to be prepared for future collection and building needs at the museum. Help the Gadsby Scouts earn their badges! Donate today, or join us for the Hip Hip Huzzah Happy Hour on April 25, 2018. 


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“Hamilton” is coming to DC! Are you a fan? Learn more about special Historic Alexandria's Hamilton-themed events at VisitAlexandria.com. Attend a lecture on Hamilton's relationship with Washington, join a Hamilton-themed tour, try on uniforms of the Revolutionary War, or play 18th-century style games.


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Experience the museum independently at your pace, or join us on an In-depth guided tour, available throughout each day. 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! The Ballroom and Assembly Room make an ideal setting for your ceremony, corporate retreat, or next party!


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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 Gadsby’s Tavern Museum’s 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!”


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Volunteer docents needed!  Training is flexible and minimum commitment is one tour shift (2-4 hours) per month.  Start the process by submitting an application Applications for the Junior Docent program, grades 4-6, are being accepted through Friday, April 20.  


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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.


Museum Hours

November to March:
Wednesday to Saturday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Sunday: 1 - 4 p.m. 
Monday and Tuesday: Closed 
Last entry: 3:45 p.m. 
Closed: New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas

April to October:
Tuesday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Sunday and Monday: 1 - 5 p.m. 
Last entry: 4:45 p.m.

During Museum hours, guests are welcome to walk through anytime with a self-guided tour. Guided tours are offered at select times throughout the day. For more information, refer to our Plan your Visit page. 

Office Hours

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

Email the Museum

Email Gadsy'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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