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!
Each weekday for three months we shared new stories and content through #HistoricALX2U - everything from virtual tours of the sites and museums to fun and educational activities. If you missed them the first time around, explore these tours and activities now.
On #MakeItMonday enjoy hands-on activities, recipes, and coloring sheets for the whole family.
Alexandria or Belhaven?June 22, 2020
Is it Alexandria or Belhaven? In 1749 a young George Washington wasn’t sure what to call this new town, so on his survey he titled it “A Plan of Alexandria, now Belhaven.” Most 18th-century Alexandrians called the town ”Alexandria” while the more upper-class citizens with aspirations of gentility chose the fancier sounding “Belhaven.” Learn more about this age-old question and what maps can tell us. #HistoricALX2U
Alexandria and Belhaven: A Case of Dual Identity. Alexandria Historical Society
My Wish for U.S.
June 15, 2020
Historic Alexandria is partnering with Made by Us and dozens of other institutions to capture a vision for our nation that includes all voices. Our democracy has lasted longer than any other nation’s, but in many ways we have yet to reach our full potential. The good news: Every single day, we get a chance to shape history. What’s your wish for our future? Get in the game and say it out loud! This #MakeItMonday write your wish and take time to ask others. How might you and your community make this wish come true?
Chronicling the Pandemic
An Activity from Saturday, June 13, 2020
As we experience this unprecedented time in the history of our town and the world, OHA is embarking on a project to record our City’s response to the pandemic by conducting oral histories and collecting select memories, objects, and documents from across the Alexandria community. The initiative will reach out to residents, businesses, schools, health care workers, churches, and civic organizations to collect and record our community’s response to this public health crisis.
To encourage conversations at home, the education team has created an activity packet for elementary students to use with their family.
For more information on Chronicling the Pandemic and how you can participate:
June 8, 2020
In the days before refrigeration was widely available, many people relied on their local dairy to deliver fresh milk and other dairy products to their door. In 1930, the Alexandria Dairy Products Company opened a new facility on the southwest corner of North Pitt and Princess Streets. The Alexandria Dairy was a leader in innovation and one of the first American producers to use square bottles.
Got Milk? Alexandria Did. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, July 3, 2013
May 25, 2020
On Memorial Day, we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice and remember them through their fellow service members. Just one percent of people in the US are active duty military and only 12 percent know a military veteran. Oral histories can help fill in this knowledge gap. Listen to Gilbert Mays and John Alford recount their service during World War II. After listening, make and wear a poppy in memory of those men and women who died while serving in the armed forces. #MakeItMonday #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome
- Gilbert Mays served in the segregated Army during in the Quartermaster Corps and worked on the development of the Jeep. Read his oral history.
- John Alford was in high school when WWII began. He had to have his mother’s permission to enlist in the Navy at age seventeen.
Read his oral history.
- Poppy Activity
Cup and Ball Toy
May 18, 2020
Toys preserved from the past help us understand what children played with – including many still enjoyed today! Often toys were made out of items found around the house, grew outside or crafted from wood. Try making a ball and cup toy of your own with things you find around your house. #MakeItMonday #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome #PreservationMonth
May 11, 2020
Architecture is the art or practice of designing and constructing buildings. Check out this street view of the Apothecary from the Museum’s collection and test your skills at spotting the shapes that make the building’s design. A quick-print activity for preschool and older. Bonus—the picture doubles as a coloring sheet! #MakeItMonday #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome #PreservationMonth
Make a Column
May 4, 2020
One of the most prominent features of some historic buildings is the column. But did you know that not all columns are the same? The most common are Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. You can see these variety of styles at the Lyceum, Alfred Street Baptist Church and the Masonic Memorial, just to name a few. Grab a toilet paper roll and design one at home! #MakeItMonday #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome #PreservationMonth
Make a Cockade
April 27, 2020
Throughout history, symbols and colors have been used to show support for a cause or country. One popular way was through a cockade. This rosette is a decorative knot of ribbons or bows worn on a hat, lapel, dress, or sleeve. In America, cockades were first used during the Revolutionary War and during the Civil War, they were a popular way of showing support in the North and South. Make a cockade for a cause of your choice and post a picture! #MakeItMonday #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome
Chamber Pots and Archaeology
April 20, 2020
For this week’s #MakeItMonday, we’re talking toilets! Before indoor plumbing, chamber pots and privies were used. It wasn’t until the start of the Alexandria Water Company in 1852 that some affluent Alexandrians were able to install indoor plumbing in their houses. City archaeologists have found many examples of chamber pots dating from the mid-18th to late-19th century that range in style and decoration. Carefully piecing them back together can give clues to how many people were living in a home, how much money they may have had, and when indoor plumbing came to the area.
Put your artifact mending skills to the test by decorating your own chamber pots and then trying to piece them back together again. Just remember, don’t use them before you do! And as a bonus, play our never-before-seen “Spot the Pot” game. #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome #SpotThePot
Cabinets of Curiosity
April 13, 2020
For this week’s #MakeItMonday curate your own exhibit at home! Today’s museums have their roots in 17th century cabinets of curiosities, “Wunderkammer” in German. Mostly for the elite, these spaces contained select rare, odd, or interesting artifacts sometimes accompanied by interpretive labels. Museums evolved and became more accessible to the general public. Alexandria’s first museum opened in 1811 and displayed “relics of the greatest Alexandrians,” including George Washington’s clock, portraits of Jefferson and Lafayette, and Revolutionary War flags. Post a picture in the comments or use #HistoricALX2U to show us your unique creation! #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome
April 6, 2020
One of America’s favorite desserts is ice cream but did you know it was also a favorite dessert for our founding fathers and mothers? An expensive and labor-intensive treat, ice cream flavors ranged from vanilla to asparagus. Try your hand at making ice cream and exploring the science that makes it possible. #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome
March 31, 2020
Fort Ward Museum has nearly 400 patriotic envelopes from the Civil War period in its collection! Soldiers and civilians during the war used envelopes and stationery decorated with a variety of images that supported their respective causes. New printing techniques of the time enabled these paper goods to be cheaply produced, making them affordable to many. Make your own! #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome
March 23, 2020
For this #MakeItMonday, test your 18th century baking skills with this recipe for ship biscuits! Archaeologists found a 200-year-old biscuit in the ground at the Robinson Terminal South Site (44AX235). Try your hand at this recipe and post a picture using #HistoricALX2U so we can see your creation. #FoodOrRock #MuseumFromHome