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This Week in Historic Alexandria | News Release | City of Alexandria

This Week in Historic Alexandria
City Museums and
Historic Sites
Other Historic Sites and Resources
This Week in Historic Alexandria
GW Bicentennial

On October 1, 1931 the Alexandria City Council appointed the George Washington Bicentennial Commission to arrange and promote activities in Alexandria associated with the 200th birthday of our nation’s first president.  Chaired by former Mayor William Albert Smoot, who resided at Lloyd House, now the headquarters for the Office of Historic Alexandria., the celebration would be one of the first to officially promote Alexandria as a tourism destination.  Not only did Washington regard Alexandria as his hometown, but he had even helped survey the land that became Alexandria when he was just 17 years of age!  Among the major physical landmarks that grew out of the Bicentennial Commemoration are the George Washington Masonic National Memorial and the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
On Sale Now
Paving the Streets in Alexandria

On Saturday, October 10, mark Fire Prevention Week and explore Alexandria’s firefighting history on the “Blazing a Trail: Alexandria’s Firefighting History” tour. Participants learn about volunteer firefighting in early Alexandria, three devastating fires, and the five volunteer fire companies. The tour begins at the historic Friendship Firehouse, goes east on Prince Street, and returns to Friendship via King Street.  Tickets for the tour are limited to those age 10 and older. $6 for adults, $4 ages 10-17. Reservations are required, as space is limited. For more information please visit  ww.friendshipfirehouse.net  or contact the museum by calling 703.746.3891 (weekends) or 703.746 4994 (weekdays).
WHAT’S NEW IN HISTORIC ALEXANDRIA
Alexandria TimesThe Office of Historic Alexandria continually expands its website with new posts on Alexandria history and subjects of interest.  A major new project, initiated by public request, is the posting of the entire “Out of the Attic” archives of articles, prepared by the department and published weekly by the Alexandria Times since 2007. The series of articles originally began as way to familiarize Alexandrians with notable landmarks or persons associated with the city, or artifacts in OHA’s diverse historical collections. But the venue has evolved over time to pursue broader discussions of city history, and the unusual role Alexandria has played in the development of our nation. Over the past eight years, one-time topics have analyzed specific subjects from across the centuries, including the life and times of 18th century Scottish importer William Gregory III, to the now demolished “Donut Dinette” built in the 1950’s to satisfy sugar and coffee-loving epicureans near Four Mile Run. For more in-depth coverage, a multi-week series of articles has discussed broader aspects of our heritage including remarkable Alexandria women, the evolution of the city’s first “West End,” and the rise and fall and rise again of Alexandria’s impressive City Hall.

The process to assemble the articles on OHA’s website, including arranging them in  a sortable and searchable format, took several years and required the dedicated commitment of OHA staff, the City’s Communications and Public Information Department and the Alexandria Times newspaper itself.  Thanks to all who made this effort happen!

Click here to connect with the archive of all past Attic articles.

EVENTS
NVFAAMonday, September 28 – Banned Books Read Out
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Did you know that The Grapes of Wrath, Animal Farm and The Picture of Dorian Gray were all banned? Celebrate your right to read with the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association and the Alexandria Library. The public is invited to read 3–5 minute selections from banned or challenged books. Email admin@nvfaa.org to reserve a spot to read….or just come to listen. Light refreshments will be served after the Read Out, generously donated by Teaism. Free! 7 p.m. For more information, please visit www.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

Tuesday, September 29 – Panel for Hart-Celler Act 50th Anniversary 
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street 
Join the Alexandria Black History Museum and the 1882 Foundation as they host a week of activities commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Movement. All events are free and open to the public. The first panel (also see Thursday, October 1 entry) focuses on the role of African Americans and Chinese during the Civil war and its aftermath. Speakers include National Park Service historians, ABHM museum staff and area educators. Guests may view a traveling exhibit Remembering 1882: Civil Rights Under the Shadow of the Chinese Exclusion Act. The exhibit will be on display for a week in the museum’s Watson Reading Room of ABHM. Free! 7 p.m.  For more information, please call 703.746.4356.

Thursday, October 1 – Panel for Hart-Celler Act 50th Anniversary 
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street 
Join the Alexandria Black History Museum and the 1882 Foundation as they host a week of activities commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Movement. All events are free and open to the public. The second panel (also see Tuesday, September 29 entry) moves the focus into the modern era as panelists share their memories of the Civil Rights movement in Alexandria and share eye-witness accounts of how DC Chinatown was affected by the Martin Luther King assassination in April 1968. Speakers include African American and Asian residents of the Metro area. Film clips from the documentaries Freedom Riders, The Loving Story, and Through Chinatown’s Eyes: April 1968 will aid the discussion. Guests may view a traveling exhibit Remembering 1882: Civil Rights Under the Shadow of the Chinese Exclusion Act. The exhibit will be on display for a week in the museum’s Watson Reading Room of ABHM… Free! 7 p.m.  For more information, please call 703.746.4356.

Friday, October 2 – Teacher Workshop on Hart-Celler Act 
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street 
Join the Alexandria Black History Museum and the 1882 Foundation as they host a week of activities commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Movement. All events are free and open to the public A one-day workshop on teaching diversity will be offered. Area educators and staff from Alexandria museums will discuss resources and lesson plans. Excerpts from the films Out of Obscurity (on the 1939 Alexandria Library Sit-in) Through Chinatown’s Eyes: April 1968 will be shown. Lunch will be provided and reservations are required. Guests may view a traveling exhibit Remembering 1882: Civil Rights Under the Shadow of the Chinese Exclusion Act. The exhibit will be on display for a week in the museum’s Watson Reading Room of ABHM. Event is free, but reservations are required 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4356.

Men Who Lost AmericaFriday, October 2 – Lecture:  The Men Who Lost America
Sherwood Community Center 3740 Old Lee Highway Fairfax, Virginia 
The Virginia Historical Society is proud to sponsor Andrew O’Shaughnessy speaking on his national award-winning book,  The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire.  This first lecture, part of a planned quarterly series of VHS lectures this year in Northern Virginia, is part of George Mason University’s 17th annual Fall for the Book Festival. Free and open to the public. 2 p.m. For more information on this and other book festival presentations, please visit http://fallforthebook.org.

Now on Exhibit through October 25 – The Athenaeum Invitational 
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
This is a theme-based show with both open call and invited submissions. The theme is Cole Porter’s “Don’t Fence Me In”. Jack Rasmussen, Director of the Kazan Art Center at American University will determine the works to win the $1,500 and $1,000 prizes. This exhibit is generously sponsored by TTR | Sotheby’s International Realty. Free! Open Thursday through Sunday, 12 Noon to 4 p.m. For more information, please visit www.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

Now on Exhibit – Journey to Be Free: Alexandria Freedmen’s Cemetery 
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street 
A new exhibit tracing the 150-year history of the long-forgotten Freedmen’s Cemetery, its rediscovery and how the new Contrabands and Freedmen’s Cemetery Memorial was created at the site.  Free, but donations are appreciated. Tuesday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday and Monday: Closed.  For more information, please call 703.746.4356.

Gen. Robert E. LeeNow on Exhibit – Their Fates Intertwined: The Lees of Alexandria in the War of 1812 
Lee-Fendall House and Gardens, 614 Oronoco Street 
A new exhibit on the experiences of the Lee family in Alexandria during the War of 1812 examines the contributions of Alexandria’s citizens during the conflict that led to the writing of our national anthem through the lives of this iconic Virginia family. For more information, please visit www.leefendallhouse.org or call 703.548.1789.

Now on Exhibit – Fifty Years of Collecting: An Anniversary Exhibit of Objects from the Fort Ward Collection 
Fort Ward Museum, 4301 West Braddock Road
In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the opening of Fort Ward Museum & Historic Park, this new exhibition offers a glimpse into the growth and holdings of the Museum’s fine Civil War collection.The exhibit features some rare items related to the Defenses of Washington, such as an 1862 panoramic drawing of Fort Albany by the soldier-artist William Lydston, a folding camp chair that belonged to an officer in the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery, and a Lambley’s portable copying machine used by an officer from the 57th Massachusetts Infantry.   Objects that interpret the Union occupation of Alexandria, such as a proclamation declaring martial law in the city, are also featured.  Examples of newly acquired objects are a field desk with personal belongings owned by a captain in the 107th New York Infantry, and a John Rogers statuary group, “Uncle Ned’s School,” which aimed to portray the efforts of newly freed African Americans to better their lives through education in the postwar years.

Fort Ward is the best preserved of the extensive network of Union forts and batteries known as the Civil War Defenses of Washington. Free! Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.   For more information, please call 703.746.4848 or visit www.fortward.org.

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