Civil War Santa at Fort Ward Museum December 10, 2011

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See How Christmas Was Observed During Civil War at “Christmas in Camp”

Civil War SantaGet into the holiday spirit and learn how Christmas was observed during the Civil War by attending Fort Ward Museum’s annual “Christmas in Camp” open house on Saturday, December 10, 2011, from noon to 4 p.m.  Meet a patriotic Santa Claus at this popular family-oriented event that also features living history presentations, Victorian decorations, refreshments, tours, and crafts.  The suggested donation is $2 for adults and $1 for children.

Soldier and civilian interpreters will welcome the public to winter camps and to the Museum, which will be decorated with festive greenery and a Victorian parlor tree. The Officers’ Hut will be the setting for soldiers opening Christmas boxes from home and sharing how they plan to observe the holiday. Soldier-led tours of the historic fort will be conducted, weather permitting.

A Civil War-era Santa Claus, dressed according to a wartime image popularized by artist Thomas Nast, will read “The Night Before Christmas” to children and hear their Christmas wishes. Santa will also visit troops in camp, just as he did on the 1863 cover of Harper’s Weekly. Kids can also learn to make their own Christmas cards and ornaments. 

Visitors can warm up and continue their holiday experience inside the Museum, while enjoying light refreshments served by ladies in period attire.  Holiday shoppers can also purchase a variety of Civil War books and “stocking stuffers” at the Museum shop.

Fort Ward is the best-preserved fortification in the Defenses of Washington, which were built to protect the Union capital during the Civil War.  The Museum offers changing exhibits, tours, lectures, and interpretive programs throughout the year.  Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site is located at 4301 West Braddock Road in Alexandria.

For more information, call 703.746.4848 or visit