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.
Take virtual tours of our museums and sites on #TourTuesday.
Historic Alexandria Collections Online
June 23, 2020
Alexandria has officially launched a new website to showcase a select portion of its vast collection online. From silver to samplers, photos to forks, over 30,000 items are held in OHA's museums. To offer a taste of this variety, tour the different collections available now. Can you find Carlton Funn’s posters on Crispus Attucks, John Gadsby’s wine cooler, and a student chorus photograph from Parker-Gray High School?
Fort Ward Ceremonial Gate
June 16, 2020
You may have walked through the gates of Fort Ward, but have you ever stopped to consider its symbolism? Examine the reconstructed ceremonial gate with Assistant Director Brian Briones, and discover why the gate includes cannonballs and a castle. Fort Ward is the best preserved of the system of Union forts and batteries built to protect DC during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Visit their website to learn more about the Fort itself, its Civil War history, and the African American community known as “The Fort” that grew after the war.
Tour the Lloyd House
June 9, 2020
Constructed around 1796-1797, the Lloyd House is one of the best Georgian style buildings in Alexandria. It has seen a lot –as the home of John Wise (who built the City Tavern, now Gadsby’s Tavern Museum) and WAVES (the Navy Women’s Reserve during WWII). The building currently serves as the administrative offices for the Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA) and is a great rental space. See if you can find the beautiful garden, a doll house, and John Gadsby Chapman’s painting “Hagar Fainting in the Wilderness.”
Ship Timbers -- a Drone's View
May 26, 2020
This week’s #TourTuesday takes us inside the city facility currently housing the remnants of three historic ships excavated along the waterfront. Over 1,000 ship timbers were found during archaeological work at 44AX235 (the Robinson Terminal South Site) and these are now stored in nine pools of water. In order to preserve these artifacts that were found wet, they need to be kept in water to prevent deterioration. Soar high above these tanks and spot the archaeologists at work in the pools in this drone footage. #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome #PreservationMonth
Tour the Contrabands & Freedmen Cemetery
May 19, 2020
Alexandria Contrabands & 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. The cemetery fell into disrepair, and by 1955, a gas station was built on the property. More than 30 years later, historical and archaeological research revealed the presence of the cemetery. The site was preserved as a memorial in 2014 to honor the memory of the Freedmen, the hardships they faced, and their contributions to our City. Look for the plaque highlighting the importance of education for Alexandria’s newly free community. Can you find a map of the site on the bronze plaques? #TourTuesday #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome #PreservationMonth
Tour the Lyceum Lecture Hall
May 12, 2020
Constructed in 1839 as part of a public education movement, The Lyceum has also been a Civil War hospital, private home, and office building. The building was preserved thanks to local citizens and became the nation’s first official Bicentennial Center for the 1976 celebrations. The second floor Lecture Hall was originally a lecture, debate, concert, and meeting hall, and it still fills those needs for the community over 250 years later. Look for the exhibit about the building - try to find the original 1839 lock and a wallpaper fragment from the building’s renovation in 1858: #TourTuesday #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome #PreservationMonth
Tour the Bastion
May 5, 2020
Boom! Let’s go to Fort Ward’s Northwest Bastion for #TourTuesday, where visitors can view an authentic reconstruction of a section of one of the largest Union forts in the Civil War Defenses of Washington. These earthwork walls were designed to absorb the impact of cannon fire. To preserve this landscape, no regular lawn mowing will do. Staff employ specialized mowing heights and procedures to ensure good turf coverage, essential to preventing erosion. Tour and find where artillerymen entered underground ammunition rooms, and imagine a soldier’s viewpoint – seeing Leesburg Turnpike and beyond to Bailey’s Crossroads!
Tour through Time
April 28, 2020
Looking at photographs over time can tell historians what changes occurred in a community. While they usually search through archives and research files for photos, you can conduct research from home with Google Street View! Focusing on Friendship Firehouse as our research topic, use the activity sheet to “tour” the streetscape around the museum over time. How many changes can you find? Can you guess when they were made? #HistoricALX2U #TourTuesday #MuseumFromHome
It's Global Volunteer Month
April 21, 2020
It’s Global Volunteer Month! In 1774 the Friendship Fire Company became the first of five volunteer firefighting companies established in Alexandria. Every household responded to fires with their own leather fire bucket to form bucket brigades, buying time for firefighters to gather equipment. Click through the Google 360 view – can you find the leather fire buckets and the two places in the museum that have clasped hands, the symbol of Friendship?
We love and miss all our museum volunteers! While our museums are closed, discover how you can help others in our community by checking out Volunteer Alexandria’s web page. Be a #LocalLight for our community! #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome #GlobalVolunteerMonth #VolunteerAlex
Freedom House Museum
April 14, 2020
Freedom House’s basement exhibit examines the domestic slave trade through the stories of the men and women forcibly separated from their families and sold to the Deep South. Paired with details of the U.S. economy and the domestic slave trade businesses, museum visitors encounter the harsh reality of historic Alexandria's as a site of human trafficking. Join us tomorrow for Spring2ACTion as we raise funds to establish the building’s Preservation Fund.
Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum
April 7, 2020
Venture through the first floor exhibits of Alexandria’s History Museum at The Lyceum for #TourTuesday. The two permanent galleries showcase centuries of the City’s history from prehistoric times to the present. The special exhibition gallery highlights Alexandria’s role in World War I. Click through the Google 360 view – try to find a punch bowl, neon sign, and WWI submarine chaser. #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome
Alexandria African American Heritage Park
April 1, 2020
For this #TourTuesday, visit the Alexandria African American Heritage Park. Across Hoof’s Run from the Alexandria National Cemetery, this park was dedicated as a memorial to African American contributions to Alexandria’s history and encompasses the Black Baptist Cemetery established in 1885. Get close to artist Jerome Meadow’s bronze tree installation and see if you can find the names of African American citizens, businesses, and institutions that have made our City what it is today. #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum
March 24, 2020
Some describe it like a step back in time or that they just apparated into a Harry Potter book. The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum was a family-run business for over 140 years - from filling orders for the Washington family in the 18th century to providing medical supplies to army bases during WWI. Tour the entire first floor of the museum by clicking around the Google 360 view and try to find the pickle spices’ box and George Washington’s bust! #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome