Free Parade Day Open Houses in Historic Alexandria

Page archived as of November 23, 2015

Free Tours of Gadsby’s Tavern Museum and Several Other Historic Alexandria Museums

On Monday, February 21, the day of the George Washington Birthday Parade in Alexandria, several Historic Alexandria sites will be hosting special open houses with free admission.

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street, and the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, 105-107 South Fairfax Street, will both be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; the Friendship Firehouse Museum, 107 South Alfred Street, will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street, will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors may tour these historic sites for free on this day.

Also open from noon to 5 p.m. is the Historic Alexandria History Center & Museum Store, 101 North Union Street, where you can stop in and get dressed for the parade in 18th-century style! Make a tricorn hat to take with you, get your picture taken with the George and Martha Washington cut-out, and try on 18th-century clothing.

Did you know that Thomas Jefferson celebrated his inauguration in 1801 in the Gadsby's Tavern ballroom? What was a popular tavern beverage of the time? What was considered luxurious for overnight accommodations in the 18th century? Visitors to Gadsby’s Tavern Museum will find out at the place George Washington dined and danced.

At the Apothecary, which opened in 1796, visitors will see its unique collection of herbs and botanicals, while discovering the important role the Apothecary played in early Alexandria. Among featured display items will be documents from Martha Washington, our country’s first First Lady, one of several famous customers who relied on the Apothecary.

At the Friendship Firehouse, first built in 1855 and remodeled in 1871, see hand-drawn fire engines, leather water buckets, axes, sections of early rubber hose and other historic firefighting equipment. The Friendship Fire Company, established in 1774, was Alexandria’s first volunteer fire company, and the restoration of Friendship’s distinctive cupola was just completed last year.

At The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, stop in for the special program “Meet the President” before the parade. At 11 a.m., Brian Hilton will portray President Woodrow Wilson and discuss events of the time of his presidency, 1913 to 1921, before taking questions from the audience. And before or after the parade, guests can explore The Lyceum’s exhibitions.

For more information about these events, please visit