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This Week in Historic Alexandria 2.25.16 | Newsletter | City of Alexandria


Friendship PumperThis year the Alexandria Fire Department (AFD) will celebrate its 150th anniversary!  To commemorate this major event, and to recognize proper stewardship of our city’s historic fire-fighting past, the AFD, Office of Historic Alexandria and Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association are joining forces to preserve two important fire-fighting vehicles on display at the Friendship Firehouse Museum; the Rodgers Suction Engine, built in 1851, and the Prettyman Hose Carriage, built in Alexandria in 1858. The Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association is leading the effort to restore these magnificent vehicles before the deterioration of structural components and paint finishes decline further. The goal is to return the equipment to its original condition for current and future generations to see how early colonial firefighting operations were conducted and how fire apparatus has evolved from the 19th century.

To undertake this renovation project a company that specializes in the restoration of antique of fire appliances has been contacted to prepare a work program, and an effort to raise sufficient funding to underwrite this important conservation project is now underway. For details on this special project, and more information on how you can provide much-needed assistance, please visit our new webpage.

Hidden ColorsThursday, February 25 – Black History Month Community Movie Night
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street
Please join us in viewing and discussing the documentary:Hidden Colors 3: The Rules of Racism. Free! 7 to 9 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4356.Saturday, February 27 – Downton Abbey Tour
Lee-Fendall House and Gardens, 614 Oronoco Street
To celebrate the final season of “Downton Abbey,” the Lee-Fendall House will offer a special “Downton Abbey” themed tour of the museum. Discover real life connections between people and places within the world of the television series and those of the Lee-Fendall House.  The tour will feature the service wing, which is not normally open to public view.  Tickets are available in advance for $10 through the museum’s Online Store, or for $12 at the door.  FREE for members! 11 a.m. For more information, please visit www.leefendallhouse.org or call 703.548.1789.Civil War RecruitmentSaturday, February 27 – Civil War Recruiting Day
Fort Ward Museum, 4301 West Braddock Road
Are you interested in learning about the hobby of Civil War reenacting? Members of the 3rd U.S. Regular Infantry, Co. K, will introduce visitors to the clothing, equipment and variety of military and civilian interpretive roles that encompass the field of Civil War living history. Snow date is March 5. Free admission. Program is weather dependent. 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, please visitwww.fortward.org or call 703.746.4848.

Saturday, February 27 – Black History Month Quiz Competition & Celebration
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street
Alexandria public school students in grades 6-8, are eligible to participate in this exciting game contest based on a question and answer format. The competition will be limited to one team per school with three students each representing Francis C. Hammond and George Washington Middle Schools and Jefferson Houston School. Each school will be responsible for identifying competition participants. Students will receive a game packet with study materials, contest rules and event specifics. Prizes will be awarded. Free! 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4356.

Sunday, February 28 – Curator’s Tour: “Who These Wounded Are: The Extraordinary Stories of the Mansion House Hospital”
Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 North Fairfax Street
Sorry, this event is sold out.

Wonders of ScienceSunday, February 28 – Wonders of Science
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, 105-107 South Fairfax Street
Visit the Apothecary and discover curious objects, from poison bottles to dragon’s blood, and find out how they were used – and if they worked! During these hour-long tours, Project Enlightenment, McLean High School’s historical-reenactment society, will conduct 18th century scientific demonstrations which are certain to expand visitors’ knowledge about science in the 1700s. Tickets are priced at $6 per person. 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4356.

Now on Exhibit – Who These Wounded Are: The Extraordinary Stories of the Mansion House Hospital
Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 North Fairfax Street
Come see the site that inspired Mercy Street, the new PBS’ series inspired by real events that took place at Carlyle House. The six-episode program revolves around the doctors, nurses, and patients of Mansion House Hospital, a former luxury hotel owned by James Green, a prominent Alexandria businessman who resided in Carlyle House.
James Green purchased Carlyle House and the adjacent Bank of Alexandria in 1848. While living in Carlyle House with his family, he converted the Bank Building into the successful Mansion House Hotel. The hotel thrived, and Green expanded it in the 1850s. In November of 1861, the Union Army took over both the hotel and the mansion, turning the hotel into a hospital and the house into doctor and officer housing. The new exhibit recreates the days of Union occupation and tells the true stories of those who lived and worked here during the war. This is where Mercy Street really happened.  Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. –to 4 p.m. For further information please visit www.carlylehouse.org or call 703.549.2997.

The LyceumNow on Exhibit – The Lyceum:  175 Years of Local History
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street
This new exhibition highlights the history of The Lyceum, 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.

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.

Open Monday through Saturday 10 am to 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 5 p.m.   For more information call 703.746.4994, or see www.alexandriahistory.org.

The AthenaeumNow on Exhibit – Wings from Chains
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Wings from Chains is an open call competition inviting artists to consider women’s roles and responsibilities in society – yesterday, today, and tomorrow – and to explore the transformation from oppression to liberation, shame to pride, and drudgery into art. 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 am 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 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 am to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.   For more information, please call 703.746.4848 or visitwww.fortward.org.


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

District of Columbia

On February 25, 1801, the town of Alexandria was formally and legally designated as part of the District of Columbia, the new national capital being developed on lands formerly within the states of Maryland and Virginia. Alexandria remained part of the capital city until the late 1840’s when the land on the west side of the Potomac was retroceded back to Virginia by an act of Congress.
On Sale Now

Winter Warmer Tea

Enjoy the warmth and hospitality of Gadsby’s Tavern Museum at the next Winter Warmer Tea on March 6! Choose from a variety of 18th-century desserts while you sip John Gadsby’s special blend of tea or take a cup of American Heritage Chocolate. Historic guest Rebecca Ramsey Reese (early 20th century preservationist) will catch you up on the latest Alexandria news during the tea. Seatings at 3:00 and 3:15 p.m. Arrive early for the 2:15 or 2:45 p.m. FREE tour before your tea.Tickets are priced at $35 per person.  For more information please call 703.746.4242.

The Alexandria Society for the Preservation of Black Heritage (ASPBH)

The Alexandria Society for the Preservation of Black Heritage (ASPBH) is currently seeking teachers for educational staff support, and volunteers willing to serve on the planning committee who can lend assistance with event logistics. For more information, please contact the Event Chair Tracye Funn on 202-624-9082.

Since 1980, the ASPBH has sought to continue its mission to identify, preserve and educate the overall Alexandria community of its illustrious black heritage by:

• Preserving, collections and promoting the early history and impressive contributions of the black community of Alexandria
• Financial support and volunteer services for the daily operations of the Alexandria Black History Museum
• Over twenty years inspiring a diverse group of local children via the Martin Luther King Jr. poster exhibition

For more information about ASPBH programs and events, please visit the website at www.alexblackhistory.org or by visiting the Alexandria Black History Museum.

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