New Exhibit -- The Lyceum: 175 Years of Local History

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The Lyceum:  175 Years of Local History

New Exhibit Opens at Alexandria’s History Museum

For Immediate Release: January 19, 2016  

The Lyceum 175 Years of Local HistoryThe Lyceum:  175 Years of Local History is now featured at The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum.  This exhibition highlights The Lyceum’s history, as well as its role today as a place for exploring Alexandria’s past.  

On view in the museum’s Coldsmith Gallery, the historical objects and images featured represent The Lyceum, the community at work, and commemorations and celebrations.  Throughout the exhibition, visitors are invited to “be the curator” and think about why the various artifacts are in museum’s collection, and about how these tangible representatives of the past help tell the story of Alexandria’s history.

Built by the Alexandria Lyceum and Library Company as a venue for educational pursuits, The Lyceum building opened in 1839.  The Lyceum Company offered the public lectures, debates and concerts.  This organization was founded by a group of educated civic leaders including Quaker schoolmaster Benjamin Hallowell, who is profiled in the exhibition.   Among his many avocations, Hallowell collected specimens from nature, historical artifacts, and other items of interest that he exhibited in The Lyceum.  Surviving specimens and his catalog of the collection are on view, as well as a journal of his lectures written in his own hand.

Museum visitors can also explore artifacts relating to commemorating or celebrating something important in someone’s life, or that serve as a memento representing an organization, business, or event.  For example, five World War II service medals from a local soldier are on view, as well as a china pitcher promoting William Henry Harrison’s campaign for the presidency, and a colorful hand-worked quilt commemorating the Bicentennial of the American Revolution in 1976.  

The Lyceum:  175 Years of Local History includes a variety of items providing a glimpse into different types of work in Alexandria since the community was founded in the 18th century.  Objects range from circa 1796 wares marked by Alexandria silversmith Adam Lynn, a circa 1880 dresser manufactured by James F. Muir and Brothers, to a collage of original photographs – circa 1970 -- documenting the Alexandria, Barcroft & Washington Rapid Transit Company.

The Lyceum:  175 Years of Local History will be on view through 2016.  The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum is located at 201 South Washington Street in Old Town Alexandria.  Hours are Monday through Saturdays 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sundays 1-5 p.m.   For more information call 703.746.4994, or see www.alexandriahistory.org.

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