Museums and Historic Sites
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.The Office of Historic Alexandria has received accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums.
Eight City museums are open to the public. You can also visit the African American Heritage Park, Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial, Alexandria Union Station, and the garden spaces at the Murray-Dick-Fawcett House and Lloyd House. The Lloyd House administrative office and the Archives and Records Center are open by appointment.
Alexandria also has many fine museums and historic sites that are not City-owned. Information on these historic attractions, including address, hours and admission fees can be found at the Alexandria Visitors Center at Ramsay House, and online at VisitAlexandriaVa.com.
The focal point of the park is a sculpture group of bronze trees called "Truths That Rise From the Roots Remembered." The park also includes a 19th century African American cemetery. The park was designed to co-exist with the original landscape of the cemetery and preserves the interesting and varied plant life on this site.
Alexandria Archaeology Museum visitors learn how the City's archaeologists, volunteers and students work with residents and developers to study and manage archaeological resources important to the community's past.
Alexandria Black History Museum enriches the lives of Alexandria's residents and visitors, fosters tolerance and understanding among all cultures, and stimulates appreciation of the diversity of the African American experience. The Museum also manages the Watson Reading Room and the Alexandria African American Heritage Park.
The Lyceum, itself a witness to nearly two centuries of local history, today serves as a gateway for Alexandria's visitors. Through exhibitions, public programs, educational tours and a museum store, the staff provides opportunities for people to engage, interact and enjoy the community's stories and artifacts.
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.
Alexandria Archives & Records Center identifies, preserves, and makes available to the public records of the City of Alexandria government that have been appraised and selected for historic value. The Archives & Records Center also provides records management, off-site storage, and reference services to City of Alexandria agencies.
Alexandria Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery served as the burial place for about 1,800 African Americans who fled to Alexandria to escape from bondage during the Civil War. A Memorial opened in 2014 on the site of the cemetery, to honor the memory of the Freedmen, the hardships they faced, and their contributions to the City.
Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site is the best preserved of the system of Union forts and batteries built to protect Washington, DC during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Fort Ward offers exhibits and programs on the site's history, on Alexandria, Virginia as an occupied city and as a vital Union Army crossroads, and on the everyday life of Civil War soldiers and civilians.
The Freedom House Museum was once the headquarters and holding pen for the largest domestic slave trading firm in the United States, Franklin and Armfield. The building at 1315 Duke Street is a National Historic Landmark. We invite you to visit the museum in this building as a historic reminder of slavery.
Friendship Firehouse Museum, the oldest standing firehouse open as a museum in Alexandria, was originally home to the first volunteer fire company in town. Today, the exhibits of historic equipment and vehicles inspire visitors, and represent the dedication and public service of the men who protected the City for decades.
Gadsby's Tavern Museum consists of the ca. 1785 tavern and 1792 City Hotel. Named for John Gadsby who operated them from 1796 to 1808, explore these buildings where Washington, Jefferson and ordinary travelers came to eat, drink, sleep and influence history.
The main store at The Lyceum Alexandria-related merchandise and the very best selections from all the Historic Alexandria museum stores. Also shop at the museums, or shop online.
Constructed around 1796-1797, Lloyd House is one of the best examples of Alexandria's late eighteenth-century Georgian style, and one of five buildings of the Georgian style remaining in the city. The Lloyd House now houses the administrative offices of the Office of Historic Alexandria.
This is one of the earliest homes in the city, and possibly the least altered 18th Century home in Northern Virginia. The gardens are now open to the public. The former owner has tenancy in the house for his lifetime, with public access for special events 12 times per year. In the future, the house will be operated as a museum and educational center focused on domestic life in Alexandria during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, one of the oldest pharmacies in the nation, sold everything from medicines to household goods from 1792 - 1933. Visitors can tour the historic shop and manufacturing room and view original products left behind by this unique family business.