Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum

Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum The Lyceum, built in 1839, is a historic site, community history museum, and venue for all sorts of public and private events in Alexandria, Virginia.

Operating as usual

12/30/2021

Today's number: $122,106. This is the amount of donations received to Historic Alexandria for sites + targeted projects. The generosity during this challenging time is heartwarming! While our department does receive City operational funding to support our mission, these resources do not cover the full scope of OHA’s strategic goals + projects. Donations like these help fund educational programs + conserve objects like the Friendship Firehouse Hose-Reel Carriage shown in this photo. #HistoricALX2U

Timeline Photos
12/18/2021

Timeline Photos

Throughout this year we have been sharing updates about Freedom House as we work to restore + interpret this significant Alexandria + national site, slated to open by April 2022. As you consider your end of the year giving, help us continue telling these important stories. Your donation will help support the building as well as the 3 new exhibits that will not only educate + inspire, but challenge long held assumptions about race + equity in Virginia. Donate today: https://shop.alexandriava.gov/MakeDonation.aspx?skuid=6005807 #FreedomHouseFriday #HistoricALX2U

Timeline Photos
12/14/2021

Timeline Photos

Did you know that December is #NationalFruitcakeMonth? This sweet treat (and butt of many jokes) has a long history, dating back to ancient Rome. In the 19th century, Alexandrians could purchase fruitcakes from a variety of bakeries, including Henry Brengle's shop on King Street. While there, residents could also pick up oysters, apparently a Christmas must-have at the time and pairs perfectly with cake. #HistoricALX2U

Timeline Photos
12/10/2021

Timeline Photos

For #TimeTravelerDay, let's go back to 1749 Alexandria + venture down our main street - Cameron Street!? Well, that didn't quite turn out as the city planners expected. Cameron Street, named for the Baron of Cameron, was meant to be the city's main thoroughfare, but King Street has since taken that crown. This unintentional change was likely because King became more passable than Cameron. Two reasons: First, the head of Oronoco Creek used to make the intersection of Cameron + Pitt Street marshy. Second, Christ Church, built in 1773, essentially cut off travel on Cameron, making King Street the new main east-west route. Today, especially living in the DC area, we can definitely appreciate transportation adventures and misadventures across the centuries! #HistoricALX2U Made By Us

Timeline Photos
12/07/2021

Timeline Photos

This Saturday, Dec. 11, join us for our virtual Kwanzaa How-to Workshop at 11 a.m.! Learn the origins, concepts, practices, + foods of Kwanzaa as well as the 7 Kwanzaa principles + symbols. Presenters will teach easy crafts, activities plus show a cooking demonstration on how to make Groundnut Stew for your Kwanzaa feast. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of the presenters at the end of the workshop. To register, visit: https://www.alexandriava.gov/125284 #HistoricALX2U

12/04/2021

Remember back in September when we showed the new 3D model of 1315 Duke Street in the works? Well it is officially done and ready for installation. We are now able to showcase more accurately what the complex looked like c. 1840. #FreedomHouseFriday #HistoricALX2U

10/26/2021

The World Series may start tomorrow but did you know that baseball has a long history in Alexandria? Photos from the Civil War era show a diamond shaped patch of dirt near what is now the King Street Metro Station that looks suspiciously like a baseball field. Using aerial photographs from 1927, City archaeologists have identified at least 29 early 20th century baseball fields around the Alexandria. They also unearthed this ball of leather straps and cords. Uncovered during excavations of the 300 block of King Street (44AX95), this artifact may be the core of a 19th century baseball. To learn more about Alexandria's baseball history check out https://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/historic/info/attic/2018/Attic20180412Baseball.pdf #WorldSeries #HistoricALX2U

Timeline Photos
10/22/2021

Timeline Photos

For #NationalColorDay, let’s dive into the colors at Freedom House. Thanks to the Historic Structures Report, we have documentation for the colors of the site over time - both outside and inside. Architectural conservators analyzed 22 paint samples. They were examined under a zoom microscope and light that simulated daylight to help identify the color-corrected stratigraphy. To highlight one sample, PT-001, it seems the exterior of the building was painted a light reddish brown color during its time as the Franklin and Armfield slave pen. Learn more about the HSR - https://www.alexandriava.gov/FreedomHouse #FreedomHouseFriday #HistoricALX2U

10/15/2021

Mark your calendar for Oct. 28 at 4 p.m. for a virtual presentation on the Freedom House Historic Structures Report! Presented by our consultant organization SmithGroup, learn more about what they discovered about 1315 Duke Street. This report is an important first step in the site’s renovation and interpretation process. For more information and to register, visit https://www.alexandriava.gov/124657 #FreedomHouseFriday #HistoricALX2U

Timeline Photos
10/11/2021

Timeline Photos

It is Indigenous Peoples' Day. For thousands of years, people moved through the region, trading and drawing resources from the land and river. Place names like the Potomac River and Dogue Run come from Algonquian languages of this area. Click through from our website to learn more from regional tribes and nations about their past, present, and future: https://www.alexandriava.gov/118419 #HistoricALX2U

Timeline Photos
10/07/2021

Timeline Photos

October is #AmericanArchivesMonth + each week we’ll share a variety of things from City Archivist Jackie Cohan! First - Why are archives important to us as a community? Historic records + documents preserved at the City’s archives connects us to events in our past in such a visceral way: not only are they firsthand evidence of what people thought + did at a particular time, they’re also a revealing snapshot into what was considered important. And holding a 100-year-old document someone touched + created so long ago is just sublime. #HistoricALX2U

Timeline Photos
09/24/2021

Timeline Photos

Staff is currently in the thick of writing and revising the new exhibit for the Freedom House Museum. Writing an exhibit takes a lot of research AND a lot of editing. Clearly communicating complex issues and key ideas within exhibit word counts is challenging! Fresh eyes, like feedback from outside reviewers, helps the team rework the exhibit script for the better. Not pictured - a large cup of coffee! #FreedomHouseFriday #HistoricALX2U

Join us Saturday!
09/23/2021
Sep. 25 Vintage Car Show

Join us Saturday!

Packard Virginia CAR SHOW is an annual event at the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum. Come for this free, outdoor event on Saturday, Sep. 25, 2021, 10...

Timeline Photos
09/23/2021

Timeline Photos

On this #NationalDearDiaryDay, let’s thank John Quincy Adams for his prolific diary writing - a handy reference for historians to learn about the lives of people in the past. In 1841, he wrote about lecturing at Lyceum Hall (now the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum), “We took tea at Benjamin Hallowell’s – then at half past seven we went to the Lyceum where I delivered my Lecture on Society and Civilization to a crowded auditory after which there was a debate on the question of whether phrenology is a Science useful to the community.” Read more about his day: https://www.masshist.org/jqadiaries/php/doc?id=jqad41_293&year=1841&month=03&day=30&entry=entrycont&start=0 #HistoricALX2U

09/21/2021

Today we celebrate #ClassicalMusicMonth with DC native Opera singer Ben Holt. Performing in the 1980s, The Washington Post described Holt as “a name and voice to remember” and highlighted how he celebrated his African American heritage in song. During a performance at the Terrace Theater - marked by a five minute standing ovation - Holt sang a mixture of spirituals, German opera, + selections from Anthony Davis' Malcolm X opera. Thanks to the devotion of his mom (and Alexandria Black History Museum volunteer), Mayme Holt, Ben’s legacy lives on in his collection at the museum. It will be cataloged + scanned so it will be accessible through Historic Alexandria’s online collections website. Learn more: https://www.alexandriava.gov/122869 #HistoricALX2U

This digitization project is partially funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

09/21/2021

Next up for #ClassicalMusicMonth, we showcase a unique feature found at Gadsby's Tavern Museum - the musician's gallery. Often seen in country homes in Europe, this feature provides for the best ballroom experience. Musicians were able to perform above while dancers could dance below without fear of "turning off the music" - running into musician! #HistoricALX2U

Timeline Photos
09/12/2021

Timeline Photos

Today is the 20th anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001. On this solemn day, Historic Alexandria reflects on that day with community mementos originally created for a short time use, or “ephemera.” Alexandria came together as a community that Tuesday morning and in the days after the attacks, from responding to the Pentagon attack without hesitation, to fundraising for disaster relief, to providing a simple thank you to first responders. We honor those who lost their lives on 9/11. #HistoricALX2U

Timeline Photos
09/11/2021

Timeline Photos

The first-floor exhibit at Freedom House will include a new 3D model of what the complex likely looked like in c.1840. This scale model is based on the most recent research on the site. The artist starts with measured architectural drawings of the property which are then loaded into a computer and laser cut into flat pieces. The artist uses photographs to help determine details such as doors and window lintels. The tricky part comes after the pieces are cut - getting the brick lines to line up. With such a large complex, this is no easy feat! #FreedomHouseFriday #HistoricALX2U

Timeline Photos
09/09/2021

Timeline Photos

Come see an early fire engine at Friendship Firehouse Museum on September 11 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Suction engines drew water through a hose + provided a powerful + constant stream to fight fires. In 1851, Friendship’s members purchased this suction engine from John Rogers in Baltimore. With over a dozen men pumping the handles (called “brakes”), it threw water 155 feet! Purchase tickets in advance at alexandriava.gov/shop for a discount for parties of two or more – advance tickets are only $2 for parties of up to ten. Free for Alexandria residents! #HistoricALX2U

Timeline Photos
09/07/2021

Timeline Photos

Celebrate #NationalBeerLoversDay by lifting a glass in Robert Portner's honor. Portner was a successful brewer in Alexandria before Prohibition. This ad from April 1912 touts the medical benefits of their Hofbrau beer. It is superior to tea and coffee and supposedly aids in digestion. Who knew beer was a health food? #HistoricALX2U

09/03/2021

Happy #BowlingLeagueDay! There were several variations of this popular sport in the 19th century, including skittles, ten-pin, nine-pin, + duckpin bowling. Some jurisdictions placed restrictions on bowling, some logical + some less so. An 1846 Alexandria ordinance instituted license fees for for-profit bowling alleys + shuffle board establishments. To be granted a license, the applicant needed to be a white, male citizen over 21 plus had to seek the consent of those owning property around the alley. Additionally, alleys were required to close at 10 p.m., provide "ample sandbags, or other means, of stopping the balls at the end of the alleys," + not allow betting. #HistoricALX2U

09/02/2021

September is #ClassicalMusicMonth! When the Hungarian Singers performed in 1840 at Lyceum Hall (now the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum), they combined popular + folk songs with classical pieces by Johann Strauss I plus opera composers Gioachino Rossini + Vincenzo Bellini. Rossini + Bellini were featured often at Lyceum Hall concerts in the 1840s, often performed by local musicians such as the St. Mary’s Choir, Alexandria’s Amateur Musical Club, + bands/choirs organized by local music teacher Signor Garcia. #HistoricALX2U

Timeline Photos
08/20/2021

Timeline Photos

On August 21, 1939, five young African American men sat down to read at the Alexandria Library on Queen Street after being refused a library card. Civil Rights attorney Samuel Tucker had coached them on how to comport themselves + was their legal defense when they were later charged with disorderly conduct. When the small new segregated facility, Robert Robinson Library, opened the following year, Tucker refused the invitation of a library card. The goal of integrating the library on Queen Street would take another 20 years. Learn more about Tucker and the sit-in: Alexandriava.gov/73256 #HistoricALX2U

Timeline Photos
08/17/2021

Timeline Photos

August is Black Business Owner Month! We are excited to highlight a variety of African American owned enterprises in Alexandria through the years. First are Cora + James Holmes. Cora Holmes, a confectioner, ran a grocery store at 533 S. Columbus St. during the late 1800s/early 1900s. Her son, John T. Holmes + his family later ran a tourist home at 803 Gibbon Street that was listed in the Green Book between 1938-1960. After John's death in 1945, his widow Arsenius + daughter Ruth, who worked as a teacher, continued to operate the establishment. Running tourist homes allowed families to supplement their income + provided traveling African Americans with a safe place to stay in a segregated landscape. Learn more about the Green Book herehttps://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/historic/attic/Attic20200507GreenBook.pdf #HistoricALX2U

08/16/2021

One drink you could see at a tavern or at home in the 18th century was rum punch. Punch is derived from the Hindi word for five. Five ingredients are needed to make rum punch - sugar, water, spices, citrus, + of course rum. Thanks to archaeology done at Gadsby's Tavern Museum, we know what the tavern's bowl would look like. So as you think of the specialized glasses we have for our drinks today, consider this early fancy cocktail vessel from Gadsby's. #NationalRumDay #HistoricALX2U

08/15/2021

What is going on over at the Murray-Dick-Fawcett House? Important renovations! Overseen by Oak Grove Restoration, work includes chimney repointing, dormer window renewal, plus a historically accurate replacement of the wood shingle roof. During these renovations, the garden will be closed. #HistoricALX2U

08/14/2021

The team busily working on the first floor exhibit at the Freedom House Museum has recently acquired several historic images from newspapers and other periodicals. Images are an important part of all exhibits because they provide vivid visual representations of the stories being told. These historic documents will help illustrate the history of 1315 Duke Street. #FreedomHouseFriday #HistoricALX2U

Photos from Historic Alexandria, VA's post
08/08/2021

Photos from Historic Alexandria, VA's post

Photos from Historic Alexandria, VA's post
08/07/2021

Photos from Historic Alexandria, VA's post

08/07/2021

Come on by tomorrow, Saturday, August 7th from 9am to 2pm for the festivities! The museum will be open for timed tours, the Fire Department will have some of its equipment there for kids to explore! Live music and vendors!

08/07/2021

This weekend, we remember Benjamin Thomas – a 16 year old African American Alexandrian who was lynched at the corner of King + S. Fairfax Streets on August 8, 1899. Please join the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project August 8th at 7 p.m. on Market Square in honoring Thomas + the 15 members of the African American community who tried to prevent the lynching. For more information, visit https://www.alexandriava.gov/116918

08/05/2021

Can't make it to the Friendship Firehouse Festival this Sat, Aug. 7? Celebrate Friendship Firehouse's 247th birthday all month with a free Family Summer Fun Kit! The pickup kit includes a plastic Friendship fire helmet, instructions, plus coloring and activity pages. Recommended for families with children ages 4-8. *While supplies last*, pick up the kit beginning Aug. 12 at the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum (Thurs + Fri 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. + Sat 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.).

07/29/2021

One of our summer interns is tracking down historical documents to create detailed biographies of signers of the 1831 James Evans’ petition. Andrew Bell was one of several Black men who volunteered to help rebuild Fort Washington after the Royal Navy left during the War of 1812. Thousands of enslaved African Americans in the Chesapeake allied themselves with the British to gain freedom, while many free Blacks hoped supporting the American cause would bring them closer to equality. When Bell signed Evans’ 1831 petition espousing loyalty to Alexandria, he may have been motivated by the same desire to improve, or at least protect, his standing in a white-dominated society. Learn about the petition here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEKdbsos_dw&ab_channel=AlexandriaArchaeology

Timeline Photos
07/29/2021

Timeline Photos

The Friendship Firehouse Festival is back August 7! Join us on the 100 block of South Alfred Street from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Come visit the historic Friendship Firehouse Museum, learn about fire safety, + see City firefighting equipment up close. There will be displays by community organizations, craft vendors, + food and beverages available. Plus children receive free Friendship fire hats! For more info: https://apps.alexandriava.gov/Calendar/Detail.aspx?si=37564

Address

201 S Washington St
Alexandria, VA
22314

Opening Hours

Monday 10am - 5pm
Tuesday 10am - 5pm
Wednesday 10am - 5pm
Thursday 10am - 5pm
Friday 10am - 5pm
Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 1pm - 5pm

Telephone

(703) 746-4994

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PERFORMANCE ANNOUNCEMENT! Daniel Frazelle has two upcoming events: Alexandria Symphony Orchestra Winter Recital December 8th, 7pm at Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum. He will play some Poulenc, Milhaud, and other #holidaymusic https://alexsym.org/performance/winter-recital/ Arlington Philharmonic December 12th, 4pm at Washington Liberty High School in Arlington, VA (Arlington Public Schools). He is playing 2nd and bass (last served by #RCW) for their first indoor concert in over a year. Program includes Reed’s Russian Christmas Music (for orchestra!), Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 1 and the Nutcracker Suite. https://www.arlingtonphilharmonic.org/concerts-and-events.html A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Daniel Frazelle has performed in recent seasons with the Alexandria, Richmond and Williamsburg symphonies. He is currently the Assistant Principal Clarinet of the United States Navy Band in Washington, D.C. and the bass clarinetist and director of the Navy Band Clarinet Quartet. #clarinet #clarinetist #orchestra #orchestralmusic #music #musician
'JAZZ & JOKES' - Fan Favorite Common Ground Jazz brings a tasteful blend of Jazz, R&B, and Soul for the most discriminating music lover, from old standards rearranged for the contemporary listener and recent urban style hits remade with a jazzy feel. Comedian Dewayne White, of Clean Comedy Connection, draws much of his humor from his unique take on his military experience and general family life craziness. Don't miss this unique blend of Jazz & Jokes at the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum. SHOWTIMES: Friday, Dec. 31 at 7:00PM & 9:30PM | The Lyceum (201 S Washington) Doors open 15 minutes prior to each show. #FNA2021 #NYE2021 #smoothjazz #jazzblend #contemporaryjazz #cleancomedy #familyfriendly
Grab your poodle skirt + leather jackets to venture down to the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum for a classic car show on Sept. 25. It will feature a variety of Packards and other “orphan” vehicles, a term for cars that are no longer manufactured. Some of the cars that will be featured at this year’s show will be a 1955 MG ZA Magnette, a 1934 Hudson Terraplane, a 1937 Packard 120C, and a 1967 Pontiac GTO. The show is free, will be held from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., and is co-sponsored by Packards Virginia.
Fall for the art scene in Alexandria this September. There are plenty of art exhibits this month to keep you happily surrounded by art! Athenaeum Torpedo Factory Art Center The Art League Del Ray Artisans Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum
September is #ClassicalMusicMonth! When the Hungarian Singers performed in 1840 at Lyceum Hall (now the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum), they combined popular + folk songs with classical pieces by Johann Strauss I plus opera composers Gioachino Rossini + Vincenzo Bellini. Rossini + Bellini were featured often at Lyceum Hall concerts in the 1840s, often performed by local musicians such as the St. Mary’s Choir, Alexandria’s Amateur Musical Club, + bands/choirs organized by local music teacher Signor Garcia. #HistoricALX2U
The Charles T. Kirk Fife Drum and Bugle Corps, organized in 1899 in Brooklyn, NY, dominated the competitive drum corps scene of the early 20th century. Enjoy this performance of their piece "Old English and Yankee Doodle," recorded at the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum! #sharethetradition
This summer, don't miss "Witnessing Worship: A Photographic Study of Faith in Alexandria" now on view at the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum. In 1985, photographer Nina Tisara documented fifty worship groups throughout the city and this exhibit features 106 black-and-white images of her work. The exhibit also explores how photography changed through the 20th century and how it documents our past for historians. Check out highlights of the exhibit in this video! #HistoricALX2U
Happy 109th birthday Girl Scouts (on March 12)! Celebrate the beginning of Girl Scouting in the U.S. and Women’s History Month with a digital relaunch of a 2009 gallery exhibition from the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum: “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts.” Learn about the city’s first Girl Scout troops and how Girl Scouting supported Alexandria’s girls during their formative years. Were you a Girl Scout? What is your favorite memory? Please share it in the comments. To view the exhibit + print out some fun coloring pages, visit: https://www.alexandriava.gov/120274 #HistoricALX2U
Some of AlexandriaVA.gov's historic museums will open at the end of this month. Read more below. Historic Alexandria, VA Gadsby's Tavern Museum Friendship Fire Company Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum #Alexandria #Alexandriamuseums #HistoricAlexandria
As we begin the annual observance of Black History Month, we look forward to sharing clips and info highlighting African-American composers. William Grant Still, often referred to as "the Dean" of African-American composers, was born in Mississippi and studied composition with George Whitfield Chadwick and Edgard Varèse. He was the first African-American composer to conduct a major symphony orchestra, the first to have his symphony performed by a leading orchestra, and the first to have an opera performed on national television. While he is best known for his First Symphony, the "Afro-American" Symphony, Still composed 150 pieces of many different genres. Here, enjoy an excerpt of a performance from a couple years ago at the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum, where Senior Master Sgt. Cleveland Chandler performed William Grant Still's Suite for Violin and Piano. #classicalmusic #violin #blackhistorymonth
Venture out of the house for some art happenings going on this month! Support our local art galleries online or in person. Del Ray Artisans Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery Target Gallery The Art League Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum The Torpedo Factory
Archaeologists learn a great deal about past environments from studying privies. Specialists can use seed remains from these features to learn what types of plants lived in a particular area and what plants people in the past ate or used for other purposes. Over the next few weeks for #waterfrontwednesday we will explore what one privy excavated at the Hotel Indigo Site (44AX229) tells us about Alexandria’s past. Feature 56, a privy possibly associated with the 18th century Carlyle Warehouse, contained persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) seeds, native to the Eastern United States. Persimmons are a versatile fruit that can be eaten fresh, dried, used in baked goods, or fermented into beer and wine. The seeds can even be boiled into a coffee substitute! Sources tell us that there’s a persimmon tree right outside the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum!