Historic Alexandria

Welcome to Historic Alexandria! Visit City of Alexandria museums and historic sites and discover our past, present and future!

Page updated on May 14, 2021 at 5:15 PM

Historic Alexandria


Welcome to Historic Alexandria! With more than 250 years of history and hospitality to its credit, Alexandria offers an array of historic and cultural attractions. Alexandria's many historic homes, churches, businesses and museums allow residents and visitors alike to experience the hand of the past that makes our city the charming and historic town it is today. Visit City of Alexandria museums and historic sites and discover our  pastpresent and  future!

Museum Openings and Covid-19 Operational Guidelines

Status Update for Historic Alexandria Museums

Many of the museums are closed and public programs are cancelled until further notice. 

The following museums are NOW OPEN.
Check the museum links for current hours and safety protocols. 

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


STAY CONNECTED!

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City Facebook Page  Twitter Page  Historic Alexandria Instagram Historic Alexandria YouTube Channel

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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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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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Join us for a series of four free virtual lectures with historian Susan Strasser, an award-winning historian and a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. Please note this events will not be recorded. Lectures are on Saturdays at 1 p.m. on March 20, April 24, May 15 and June 12.


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This week in Historic Alexandria, enjoy the many exhibits, public programs and special events offered by our city’s great museums and historic sites! Information on daily calendar listings, museum hours, local history and much more is included in this e-newsletter, updated each week on this webpage or delivered to your in-box. To subscribe to this and other information from the City of Alexandria, create an e-news account and select your notifications of interest here.


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The following museums are now open. Check the museum links for current hours and safety protocols. Alexandria Archaeology MuseumAlexandria History Museum at The LyceumFriendship Firehouse MuseumGadsby's Tavern Museum. Luckily, history doesn’t stop just because our hours are limited! Visit us here on our website and follow us on social media to discover new things about your hometown.


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Alexandria’s history offers a local lens to explore events that have changed the nation. Learners of all ages can explore Alexandria’s history through online and on-site offerings designed by Museum Educators and Curators. Historic Alexandria offers educators the opportunity to reinforce their teaching with hands-on experiences, field trips, kits, and online resources.


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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. 


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The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama includes over 800 steel monuments, one for each county in the United States where a racial terror lynching took place. Their Community Remembrance Project invites jurisdictions to claim and install a copy of their monument. The City of Alexandria is committed to claiming Alexandria’s monument in partnership with EJI.


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The Ramsey Homes, a former public housing project on North Patrick Street, is being replaced by a mixed income community with low-income and market-rate units.  The documentation of the history and architecture of the Ramsey Homes was undertaken as part of this historic preservation process.


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Following the tragic murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, the Alexandria Black History Museum put out a call to the community to help us to document the legacy of the local community’s response to this tragedy and the wave of peaceful protests and vigils that followed. These donations form the basis of the Museum’s new Black Lives Remembered Collection. View items from the collection here. New submissions are still received here.


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The Alexandria Black History Museum’s The Moss Kendrix Collection was a 2020 honoree in the Virginia Association of Museums’ Top 10 Endangered Artifacts.



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The Parker-Gray School provided African American children with comprehensive education at a time when segregation and lack of resources, teachers, and facilities threatened what is now understood as a fundamental right of every child. On the 100th anniversary of Alexandria’s Parker-Gray High School, the City of Alexandria joined the Alexandria African-American Hall of Fame and Parker-Gray Alumni in commemorating this historical legacy. 


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The shoreline of the Potomac River where Alexandria is located today was inhabited for centuries, long before the modern community was founded. When Captain John Smith neared this point in 1608, he met at least two groups of indigenous peoples, who were among the thousands of Native Americans who inhabited the region and enjoyed its rich resources of fish and game. 


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Alexandria’s African American history is told through an online StoryMap and can be experienced in-home on your computer or on your smartphone as you walk the trail along the Potomac River. The walking trail lasts about 45 minutes at a leisurely pace. The webpage presents more in-depth information about the stops highlighted in the StoryMap.


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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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We are interested in hearing your story.. If you currently live, work, or volunteer with the City of Alexandria, or have done so in the past, you can participate in the Historic Alexandria Oral History Program. We are currently conducting interviews virtually. Fill out our survey if you would like to share your story.


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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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Many of the City's premier historic sites are owned and operated by the City of Alexandria and fall under the administration of the Office of Historic Alexandria, the department of City government charged with the conservation, interpretation and promotion of these links to the past. Find out more about each of our museums and historic sites.


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The City of Alexandria’s wayfinding signage system helps people find their way around the city. Take a look at the new map and history panel “mini-kiosks” in Old Town, from the Masonic Temple on Shuter's Hill to the waterfront. Read the full text of the history panels here.


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Enjoy a variety of walking and bike tours, listen to podcasts, explore Alexandria's Civil War heritage with a free iPhone app, go on a scavenger hunt, or learn about Trail Signs and the Alexandria Heritage Trail. For a short preview, check out Visit Alexandria 360, a virtual tour.


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What happened in Alexandria on today's date, or tomorrow, or on your birthday? See today's historical events, or search for another date. These daily events in Alexandria's history were first printed in "This Week in Historic Alexandria." 



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Out of the Attic, featuring historical photographs of Alexandria, is a column produced by the Office of Historic Alexandria and published weekly in the Alexandria Times. An archive of articles dating back to the column's beginning in 2007 appears here with permission of the newspaperSort or search the index to learn about places or topics of interest.


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As redevelopment takes place along the waterfront, archaeologists are learning more about the city’s maritime past. Learn about the discovery of four 18th-century ships, wharves and warehouses, and the current effort to record the ship timbers with 3D scanning, and consider a generous donation to the Save Our Ships Fund.


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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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Generations of passengers have embarked on journeys and were welcomed home at the Alexandria Union Station. Built in 1905, the station is on the National Register of Historic Places. Stop by the station to see interpretive exhibits, or to take the train.


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Explore centuries of human history. See a 13,000-year-old Clovis point, an 18th-century apothecary, a restored Civil War fort, a 1940s segregated library, and more. See all the information you need to plan a visit to the Historic Alexandria museums. Before your visit, be sure to print an eSavings Coupon.


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Visit the Museum Store at the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum (201 S. Washington Street) and online at The Alexandria Shop. The shop offers great gift ideas, a wide variety of Alexandria-related merchandise and the very best selections from all the Historic Alexandria museum stores. Your purchases support programming at Historic Alexandria's museums. 


About the Office of Historic Alexandria

Many of the city's premier historic sites fall under the administration of the  Office of Historic Alexandria, the department of City government charged with the conservation, interpretation and promotion of these links to the past. These sites bring Alexandria's varied and storied history to life. Additionally, Alexandria has many  more historic sites which are open to the public and tell a significant part of the city's historical tale. The Office of Historic Alexandria is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.


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American Alliance of Museums
Accredited Museum

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