The Lyceum: Alexandria's History Museum

In 1839, a group of gentlemen calling themselves The Alexandria Lyceum joined with the Alexandria Library Company to build a grand hall to provide a place for lectures, scientific experiments and quiet reading.

Page updated on Feb 10, 2017 at 1:57 PM

The Alexandria Lyceum was founded a year earlier, in 1838, by a group of well-educated local men with an interest in improving public educational and cultural opportunities throughout the community. In 1839, the group joined with the Alexandria Library to construct a new home for both organizations, the building known today simply as The Lyceum. This historic site has also served as a Civil War hospital ward, a private residence, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Nation’s first Bicentennial Visitor’s Center. Today, as the city’s history museum, the site offers exhibitions, public programs, a museum store, and facility rentals.

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George Washington is represented in The Lyceum's collection with items created to commemorate, and celebrate, his life and achievements. Click on the photograph of the sampler to learn more about it, as well as two other artifacts from the 19th century that are examples showing how he was greatly admired at home, nationally, and abroad.


To appreciate the historical background of the PBS drama series Mercy Street as the second season premieres in 2017, we introduce a new series of lectures on food during the Civil War. Join us on January 12, 2017 for “The Hidden World of Food in the Civil War;” on February 23 for “Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War;” and on March 9, 2017 for “Oysters, Baked Beans, and Soldier's Bread: A Culinary View of Abraham Lincoln's Life in the White House,” by Rae Eighmey. For more information about the lectures or to reserve tickets, visit The Alexandria Online Shop or call 703.746.4994.


On March 11, celebrate women and learn about issues important to women and girls in your community at this special event!  Daisies, Brownies, and their accompanying adults will participate in hands-on activities, talk with a panel of Girl Scouts and discover how scouting empowered them, and add their own future goals to a timeline of Juliette Gordon Low’s story.  Register online or by calling The Lyceum at 703.746.4994.


To commemorate the anniversary of American entry into World War II, The Lyceum presents The Five Payne Brothers An Alexandria Family & Their Service.


Download the latest issue of our digital newsletter for The Lyceum and Friendship Firehouse Museum here.

Lyceum Performance Calendar

Events from groups renting the the lecture hall, for concerts, lectures and meetings open to the public.


The Lyceum: Alexandria’s History Museum 
201 S. Washington Street 
Alexandria, Virginia 22314 
Phone: 703.746.4994 
Fax: 703.838.4997 

Museum Hours

Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. 
Closed: New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas

Staff Office Hours

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

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American Alliance of Museums
Accredited Museum