Historic Alexandria

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

Page updated on Sep 29, 2016 at 3:04 PM

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!

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This week in Historic Alexandria, enjoy the many exhibits, public programs and special event activities 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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Help us preserve two important fire-fighting vehicles on display at Friendship Firehouse Museum: The Rodgers Suction Engine, built in 1851, and the Prettyman Hose Carriage, built in Alexandria in 1858.



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Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of the hull of a fifty-foot vessel on the Indigo Hotel construction site at 220 S. Union Street. Scuttled sometime in the late eighteenth century, the ship served as the framework for part of the landfill process that extended the waterfront out to the deep channel of the Potomac River.  Watch a video of this exciting discovery. Earlier finds at this site include the 1755 public warehouse.

We need your help to ensure the preservation of the fragile wood timbers of the historic ship for future generations to study and appreciate. Please make a generous donation to the Save Our Ship Conservation Fund


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The City of Alexandria is joining countless others around the world in commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War I. The war began in Europe in 1914, and the US entered the war in April of 1917.


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Experience Mercy Street in Alexandria with ongoing events and exhibits as we await the exciting second season. Mercy Street, the PBS drama, is inspired by true stories of Civil War Alexandria, Virginia. Set in 1862, Mercy Street follows the lives of two volunteer nurses on opposite sides of the conflict, whose lives collide at Mansion House Hospital. Alexandria was a border town between North and South and the longest Union-occupied city of the Civil War. Ruled under martial law, Alexandria was the melting pot of the region; a place where personal stories of the Union and Confederacy converge in a city setting. The Office of Historic Alexandria joins Extraordinary Alexandria in providing visitor experiences that uncover the real people behind the characters on the show, the realities of Civil War medicine, changing roles for women, and the breakthrough experience of enslaved African Americans claiming their freedom. Learn more about Emma Green and Frank Stringfellow: Alexandria's Civil War Sweethearts. Watch the seson one trailer here.


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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 Alexandria was an occupied city; enduring the longest military occupation by Union troops of any town during the conflict.  Witness to War and Reunion  brings together resources from Historic Alexandria, Friends of Freedmen's Cemetery, the Alexandria Historical Society, and the Alexandria Library, that provide some insight into the War and its effect on Alexandria and its inhabitants. Read  First Person Accounts for insight from those who experienced the events, learn about  Civil War Hospitals in Alexandria, visit  Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site and the  Contrabands and Freedmen's Cemetery Memorial, and explore  Alexandria's Civil Defenses of Washington by bike.



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The Office of Historic Alexandria is engaged in a multi-year project entitled Immigration Alexandria: Past, Present and Future. This initiative examines the history of immigration from the mid-nineteenth century to today in Alexandria. Oral histories of those representing different ethnic groups in the post-1970 immigrant communities of Alexandria, fundamental to the overall project, were conducted with funding from VFH. The purpose of this first city-wide endeavor is to increase public understanding of the historic and contemporary significance of immigration to Alexandria and its impacts on our social and cultural fabric. Funding for planning and research, as well as implementation to celebrate Alexandria’s diversity through public programming, is now being developed in partnerships with both government and the private sector. 

This program has been funded in part by a grant from Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.


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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 newspaper. An archive of articles dating back to the column's beginning in 2007 appears here with the permission of the newspaperSort or search the index to learn about places or topics of interest.


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Visit Fort Ward Park to see new historic signage highlighting the post-Civil War African American community known as The Fort. A copy of The Fort Heritage Trail Brochure  is available online. This community 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. Archaeological excavations in the park, historical research, and oral histories highlight our growing knowledge of this community. Learn about the  Stakeholder Advisory Group , and about archaeological and historical research, including reports on excavations, transcriptions of oral history interviews with former residents.  
   



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Visit the Historic Alexandria Museum Store, online and at two convenient locations. The shops 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.  

  • Main Store at The Lyceum: Alexandria's History Museum, 201 S. Washington Street
  • Satellite Shop at the Alexandria Hilton, 1767 King Street 
  • Online at The Alexandria Shop.


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Alexandria offers educators the unique opportunity to reinforce their teaching with hands-on experiences, field trips, lectures, educational kits and other media resources. These programs are designed to foster interest in the history and culture of Alexandria from colonial times to the present.


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The Memorial, at 1001 S. Washington St., was officially opened on September 6, 2014. Learn about the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial history and the archaeology of the site, view news coverage of the commemoration ceremonies, and watch short videos about the Memorial on Comcast Newsmakers, of interviews with Char McCargo Bah, Audrey Davis and Francine Bromberg.


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Explore Alexandria's Civil War heritage with a free iPHone app, find out about an array of historic and cultural attractions, go on a scavenger hunt, and walk or bike a part of the Alexandria Heritage Trail.

 


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Make your child's birthday a historic occasion, with a party at one of several historic museums in Alexandria, including the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary, the Friendship Firehouse, and Gadsby's Tavern.

You can also schedule tours and programs at all of the Historic Alexandria Museums for school groups, scout groups, homeschool families, and camps, as well as for adults.


About the Office of Historic Alexandria

Seven 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.

These sites - Alexandria Black History MuseumAlexandria Archaeology MuseumFort Ward Museum & Historic SiteFriendship Firehouse MuseumGadsby's Tavern MuseumThe Lyceum: Alexandria's History Museum, and the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum - 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 has received accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums.

Contact Information 

Office of Historic Alexandria Administration Offices
Lloyd House
220 North Washington Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
703.746.4554
Fax: 703.838.6451
Email

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m

Contact the museums, and plan your visit


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American Alliance of Museums
Accredited Museum

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