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 14, 2018 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.

Virtual Tour

Visit the first and second floors of The Lyceum on Google 360 virtual tours.

Find us on Facebook  Find us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Twitter


Clio's Kids introduces children ages 5-7 years to American history and life in historic Alexandria through artifacts, storytelling, singing and crafts, "old-fashioned" games, and visits to nearby historic places.  Click here to learn more about our summer camp. 


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 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.

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

Email The Lyceum  

American Alliance of Museums logo
American Alliance of Museums
Accredited Museum