School Tours at Gadsby's Tavern Museum

What student doesn’t relate to eating, sleeping, and having fun? Gadsby’s Tavern Museum uses its two tavern buildings to explore daily life, travel, business, and entertainment in 18th-century Virginia. Our tours are designed to help students relate to the past through hands-on opportunities and primary resources while learning how life was (and wasn’t!) different in Early America.

Page updated on Aug 2, 2021 at 10:59 AM

School Programs Themes

We work with each teacher to ensure the field trip fits his or her class and curriculum. The following is a list of frequently requested programs, but programs can be adjusted to meet your specific needs. Please feel free to contact the Curator of Education to discuss what we can do for you and your students.

  • Traveling Tom (Grades K - 2 only)
    Students discover what it was like to travel in the 18th century and to spend the night at a tavern by comparing life in the past to life today. They examine hands-on objects, interpret period maps, tour the tavern, and participate in a dress-up activity. (SOL: K.1 a, b; K.2; K.4 a, b, c; K.5 a, b, c; K.7 b).  Download the pre-visit materials.
  • A Tavern at Work (Grades 2 and up)
    From the establishment of Alexandria on the Potomac River to the types of food people ate at taverns, topics on this tour are sure to capture the imagination of your students. Program includes primary source documents, hands-on objects, and a dress-up activity. (SOL: VS.1 a, e, i; VS.2 c; US1.1 a, b, e, f). Download the pre-visit materials.
  • Candas, the Tavern Slave (Grades 3 and up)
    Students learn about slavery in Virginia and get a glimpse into the lives of the enslaved African Americans who worked at the tavern. Program includes interactive discussion, tavern tour, and a game of charades with "hands-on" objects from the 18th century. (SOL: VS.1 a, e, f, i; VS.2 c; VS.4 c; US1.5 c; US1.8 d).  Download the pre-visit materials.

Scheduling a Program

To schedule a visit, contact the Curator of Education. Please note the following when scheduling a school program:

  • Reservations are required. 
  • Length of program: Each program is one hour long
  • Maximum Group Size per program: 30 students
  • Cost: Lessons are free to Alexandria City Public School groups, and $3 per person ($40 minimum) for all other groups.
  • Minimum of two adult chaperones required per time slot; up to 5 adults admitted free per time slot; additional adults $3 each
  • Accessibility: Please notify us of any special needs so we can best accommodate all of your students. Gadsby’s Tavern Museum welcomes all students and can create the best, most inclusive experience if notified in advance. The museum does not have handicap access to the second floor, but will work closely with visiting teachers to make the program as accessible as possible to all visiting students.

Visiting Multiple Sites

Have a group of 30 or more or want to see more than one site while in Historic Alexandria? The Office of Historic Alexandria’s Education Coordinator makes it easy by scheduling the programs for you. Visit scheduling a multi-site program for more information about this great opportunity.

Where to Park

Groups arriving by car should include time for parking in their schedule. There is metered street and garage parking available near Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. Please be aware that parking regulations are strictly enforced.

School and tour buses must use designated loading/unloading and parking areas in Historic Alexandria. For Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, there is a loading/unloading zone directly in front of the museum. Parking is allowed in this area for only as long as it takes to actually load or unload the bus.

Due to the sensitivity of our historic buildings, bus engines must be turned off when parked, not idled, and buses must park in designated areas. 

    All buses are required to register in advance to park in the designated areas. Teachers should reserve space for each bus travelling to Old Town. To make your reservation, you will need to create a user log-in and follow the prompts at the City’s Motorcoach website. Reservations are free.

    Restroom and Water Fountain Facilities

    Gadsby’s Tavern Museum does not have restroom and water fountain facilities for school groups. Public restrooms and water fountains are available in City Hall directly across the street.

    Lunch Facilities

    Groups must arrange lunch and/or snack plans in advance with the Education Coordinator.


    Group Lunch Facilities in Historic Alexandria

     Reservations Required  No Reservations Required 
    Outdoor Spaces Carlyle House garden
    Fort Ward Park
    Market Square
    Founder's Park
    The Torpedo Factory Dock
    The Lyceum's side entrance
    Indoor Spaces The Lyceum's lecture hall
    George Washington Masonic National Memorial

    Educational Outreach Kits

    Can't visit us? Then bring the Tavern to you! Rent our Tavern in a Trunk for grades K-8 or Playing the Past, the Museum's 18th-century ball kit.