Gadsby’s Tavern and Apothecary Museums Offer Free Admission to Military Personnel and Their Families This Summer

Page archived as of November 23, 2015

Among More Than 1300 Museums Offering Free Admission to Military Personnel and Their Families this Summer

On the eve of Memorial Day weekend, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum and the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum are proud to salute America’s service members by announcing the launch of Blue Star Museums, a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and more than 1,300 museums across America, to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2011.

Military personnel and their families will have the opportunity to tour Gadsby’s Tavern Museum and the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum in Old Town for free. Blue Star Museums runs from Memorial Day, May 30 through Labor Day, September 5. The free admission program is available to active duty military and their immediate family members (military ID holder and five immediate family members), which includes active duty Reserve and active duty National Guard. More than 1,300 museums in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are taking part in the initiative. To see a full list of participating museums, visit

Blue Star Families is a national, non-partisan, nonprofit network of military families from all ranks and services including Guard and Reserve, with a mission to support, connect and empower military families. In addition to morale and empowerment programs, Blue Star Families raises awareness of the challenges and strengths of military family life with civilian community and leaders. Membership includes spouses, children, parents, service members, veterans and civilians. For more information, please visit

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum consists of two buildings, a ca. 1785 tavern and the 1792 City Hotel, which are named for John Gadsby who operated them from 1796 to 1808. Mr. Gadsby’s establishment was a center of political, business, and social life in early Alexandria. The tavern was the setting for dancing assemblies, theatrical and musical performances, and meetings of local organizations. George Washington enjoyed hospitality there and twice attended the annual Birthnight Ball held in his honor. Other prominent patrons included John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Marquis de Lafayette. Visitors to the historic tavern will learn about the history, architecture, decorative arts, social customs, food, and clothing of a past era.

The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum is noted for its outstanding collection of shop furnishings, apothecary bottles and equipment, and archival materials, many still in their original location. When the Apothecary closed during the Depression in 1933, the doors were simply locked, preserving the contents for history. Over 8,000 objects, including pill rollers, mortars and pestles, drug mills, and hand-blown medicine bottles with gold-leaf labels, were left in place. Medicinal herbs with paper labels remain in their wooden drawers. Large show-globes from the mid-19th century remain in the windows. It also has a spectacular collection of archival materials, including journals, letters and diaries, prescription and formula books, ledgers, orders and invoices. The names of famous customers appear in the documents, including Martha Washington, Nelly Custis and Robert E. Lee.

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum is located at 134 North Royal Street and the Apothecary Museum is located at 105-107 South Fairfax Street, both in the heart of Old Town Alexandria. Both are open Sunday and Monday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

For more information, please visit or