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This Week in Historic Alexandria | Newsletter | City of Alexandria

This Week in Historic Alexandria
City Museums and
Historic Sites
Other Historic Sites and Resources
This Week in Historic Alexandria
Benjamin Hallowell

On December 7, 1855, Alexandria educator Benjamin Hallowell gave a lecture on astronomy at The Lyceum on South Washington Street, almost sixteen years to the day after the first lecture was given at the facility. Hallowell, a Quaker abolitionist who lived and taught at Lloyd House, now the headquarters for the Office of Historic Alexandria, was a major force behind the construction of Greek Revival-style Lyceum building in Alexandria, patterned on the  popular centers for learning and knowledge in the 19th century that were located in major European and American cities. Hallowell was also well known for designing Alexandria’s first public water system in 1852, and years later accepted the position of President of the University of Maryland. In that role he declined a salary for the position on the condition that the University would discontinue the use of slaves on the campus.
On Sale Now
Candlelight Tour

Enjoy Alexandria’s heritage by participating in three centuries of holiday cheer! Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tours, the city’s premier historic holiday event, blends history, food, and drink through special tastings, seasonal decorations, period music and tours highlighting festive traditions. Tour Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Carlyle House, The Lloyd House and Lee-Fendall House. Special seasonal libations may be purchased along the tour! Tour any time from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 12, or 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, December 13. Please allow 1.5 – 2 hours to tour all four sites. The sites may be visited in any order and stationed guides will be present at each location. A free shuttle will be provided running in a continuous loop between the sites. Ticket prices are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors (ages 65 and older) and active military members, and $5 for children (ages 6-17) and can be purchased online. Additional adult beverages will be available for purchase at select sites.
WHAT’S NEW IN HISTORIC ALEXANDRIA
Fort Ward OrnamentThe 2015 Historic Alexandria Holiday Ornament showcases Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site. Fort Ward offers an excellent introduction to the Civil War Defenses of Washington through exhibits, programs, and the preserved Union fort which features the authentically reconstructed Northwest bastion. The Museum is patterned after a Union Army headquarters building that existed in the defense system, imitating a board and batten style with decorative trim that was typical of the era. The Museum’s fine collection features more than 4,000 objects from the Civil War period, including items that interpret the Defenses of Washington, Civil War Alexandria, and military life at Fort Ward. This year’s ornament is a beautiful tribute to Fort Ward, and is available for $18. For this and other Historic Alexandria merchandise, please visit our online shop.
EVENTS
Tuesday, December 8 – Alexandria Assembly Dance Rehearsal
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum’s performance dance group, the Alexandria Assembly, meets most Tuesday nights for practice and instruction. Monthly donations accepted. Prerequisite: dancers must have participated in one of the Museum’s Thursday night dance class series. Free! 7:30 to 9:30. Please call 703.746.4242 for more information.Wednesday, December 9 – Alexandria Historical Restoration and Preservation Commission
Lloyd House, 220 North Washington Street
Regular monthly meeting. Free! 8 a.m. Please call 703.746.4554 for more information.

Wednesday, December 9 – GTMS: A Christmas Carol at the Little Theatre
Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street
The Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Society (GTMS) is sponsoring a night at the Little Theatre for a new production of this family-friendly holiday classic – A Christmas Carol. GTMS will once again host a Christmas Goodies and Savories Reception with appropriate beverages for all at the theater starting at 6:30. The 75-minute, no intermission performance will begin at 8:00. During the reception, there will be an opportunity for Pictures with Father Christmas – as George Washington would have known this icon of the season. Bring your cameras and iPhones! $25 per person. 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information please click here.

Wednesday, December 9 – Gary Stephans’ Art of Ballroom Dance
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Fun classes to learn to dance or improve your dancing skills: fox trot, waltz, tango, swing, salsa, merengue, rumba, cha-cha, and samba. All level of dancers are welcome, with or without a partner. Discover little techniques that most people never learn about and become a relaxed and proficient social dancer in these small, personalized dance lessons! Tickets are available for each sessiononline as follows: Basic Techniques, $15 per person, 7 to 7:45 p.m.; Advanced Techniques, $15 per person, 7:45 to 8:30 p.m.; attend both sessions for best results! Free practice session from 8:30 to 9 pm. For more information, please visit garystephans@me.com or call 703.505.5998.

Thursday, December 10 – Comedy Improv: The Retrocessionists 
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
You better watch out, you better not cry because the Retrocessionists will turn your holiday frown upside down! These talented improvisers will take your suggestions of horrible holiday pasts and turn them into wonderful memories for your enjoyment! Cash bar starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are priced at $15 per person. For more information, please visit www.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

Christmas CarolSaturday, December 12 – A Christmas Carol
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Join us for a solo performance of Dickens’ classic holiday tale! NYC actor/playwright Greg Oliver Bodine performs his critically acclaimed one-man performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for a limited, one-night only engagement. This one-man play is based on the condensed version Dickens himself read on his historic reading tours, adapted for a unique theatrical experience. One actor! One hour! Rated G for children over 10 years of age. Tickets are priced at $20 for adults; $15 for children 12 and under. 7 p.m. For more information, please visitwww.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

Saturday, December 12 – Civil War Christmas in Camp
Fort Ward Museum, 4301 West Braddock Road
Holiday event interprets how Christmas was observed during the Civil War. Features a patriotic Santa Claus, living history interpreters, tours of the fort, and craft activity for children. Some activities weather dependent. Free, but Suggested donation, $2 per person. 12 Noon to 4 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4848 or visit www.fortward.org.

Saturday, December 12 – Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tours
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street
Bring three centuries of Holiday Cheer to your celebrations this year! Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tours, the city’s premier historic holiday event, blends history, food, and drink through special tastings, seasonal decorations, period music and tours highlighting festive traditions. Tour Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Carlyle House, The Lloyd House and Lee-Fendall House. Special seasonal libations may be purchased along the tour! Tickets are priced at $25 for adults, $20 for active military and seniors (65 and older), and $5 for children (ages 6-17). 6 to 9 p.m. Please call 703.746.4242 for more information.

FlutesSunday, December 13 – Music in the Gallery: The Mount Vernon Flutes
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
The Mount Vernon Flutes have been an Athenaeum favorite for many years! They will perform classic holiday songs in our gallery. Join us for this magical performance and get in the holiday spirit. Free! 2 p.m. For more information, please visitwww.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

Sunday, December 13 – Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tours
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street
Bring three centuries of Holiday Cheer to your celebrations this year! Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tours, the city’s premier historic holiday event, blends history, food, and drink through special tastings, seasonal decorations, period music and tours highlighting festive traditions. Tour Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Carlyle House, The Lloyd House and Lee-Fendall House. Special seasonal libations may be purchased along the tour!Tickets are priced at $25 for adults, $20 for active military and seniors (65 and older), and $5 for children (ages 6-17). 3 to 6 p.m. Please call 703.746.4242 for more information.

Monday, December 14 – Alexandria-Caen Sister City Committee
City Hall, 301 King St., Sister Cities Conference Room 1101
Regular monthly meeting, Free! 7 p.m. Please call 703.746.4554 for more information.Monday, December 14 – Gary Stephans’ Art of Ballroom Dance
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Fun classes to learn to dance or improve your dancing skills: fox trot, waltz, tango, swing, salsa, merengue, rumba, cha-cha, and samba. All level of dancers are welcome, with or without a partner. Discover little techniques that most people never learn about and become a relaxed and proficient social dancer in these small, personalized dance lessons! Tickets are available for each sessiononline as follows: Basic Techniques, $15 per person, 7 to 7:45 p.m.; Advanced Techniques, $15 per person, 7:45 to 8:30 p.m.; attend both sessions for best results! Free practice session from 8:30 to 9 pm. For more information, please visit garystephans@me.com or call 703.505.5998.

Now on Exhibit – Mike McConnell 
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Mike McConnell was a successful commercial illustrator who recently dedicated himself to fine art. His work is complex, fun, and often witty. 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.

Now 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 visitwww.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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