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This Week in Historic Alexandria 4.5.16 | Newsletter | City of Alexandria

This Week in Historic Alexandria
City Museums and
Historic Sites
Other Historic Sites and Resources
This Week in Historic Alexandria
Old Drawing of City Hall

On April 7. 1846 the City of Alexandria authorized the first paid curator at the Market House Museum, then located in the second City Hall building which faced North Royal Street.  Originally established in 1812, in conjunction with Alexandria’s Masonic Lodge which leased the space in the northwest second floor corner of the building, the museum was often the site of major events, including a festive reception for the Marquis de Lafayette when he visited Alexandria for a month in 1824.
On Sale Now
Punch Scene

On Saturday, April 16, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., 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, proceeds east on Prince Street, and returns via King Street. For ages 10 and older. Tickets are priced at $6 for adults, $4 ages 10-17. Reservations are required, as space is limited.



Save Our Ship!

April 14, 15, and 16, 2016
116 South Quaker Lane
(old DASH bus barn)
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every 30-minutes
Recommended Donation $10

Special behind-the-scenes tours are being offered of our 18th-century ship, before it is moved to a conservation facility. Reservations for the 30-minute tours are required and available while supplies last from https://shop.alexandriava.gov/SelectEvent.aspx. Select Alexandria Archaeology Save our Ship Tours to make your reservation.

Once completed, please make a minimum donation of $10 to Save Our Ship throughhttps://spring2action.razoo.com/Saveourship. All proceeds benefit the ship conservation fund.

Space is limited. Book today and take full advantage of this rare and unique opportunity to meet and observe the archaeologists and conservators as they record the ship timbers.

Early Alexandrians sunk the ship in the Potomac mudflats over 200 years ago. Archaeologists unearthed it, temporarily saving it from destruction. Now, we need your help to preserve this fragile vessel for future generations!

For more information about the ship’s excavation, stabilization, and media coverage, visitArchaeological Discoveries on the Waterfront: 220 S. Union St.

Help us SAVE OUR SHIP! #SaveOurShipALX

Tuesday, April 5 – Alexandria Archaeological Commission Forum
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street
The Alexandria Archaeological Commission will hold a public forum on the nominations received in 2015 for threatened and endangered archaeological and historical sites in Alexandria. This forum serves as the culmination of the nomination process held last year and as the start of a public dialog about what history means to Alexandria, why archaeological and historical sites are important, the role of historic preservation to the city’s character and its economic vitality, and is an opportunity to tap into the wealth of knowledge Alexandria residents have about their city and its history. Free! 6 to 9 p.m. For more information please call 703.746.4399.Tuesday, April 5 – 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 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4242.Reel Paddling Film FestivalWednesday, April 6 – Rapid Media’s Reel Paddling Film Festival 
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street
Rapid Media’s Reel Paddling Film Festival showcases the world’s best paddling films to audiences in Canada, United States and around the world. The festival inspires more people to explore rivers, lakes and oceans, push physical and emotional extremes, embrace the lifestyle and appreciate the heritage of the wild places that paddlers explore. In addition to the film, there will be a paddling gear raffle, drinks and reception before the show to benefit Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Your ticket to a Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour stop includes a free one-year digital edition subscription to one magazine on the sport. Tickets  are priced at $12 in advance or $15 at the door.  7 p.m.  For more information, please click here.Thursday, April 7 – USAF Band Spring Chamber Series at The Lyceum 
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street
An Evening of Music for trumpet and trombone featuring the Ceremonial Brass. Free and open to the public, no reserved seats, first-come, first seated. 7:30 to 9 p.m. For more information, please visit http://www.usafband.af.mil/.

Saturday, April 9 – The Lee-Fendall House to Close Early Today
Lee-Fendall House and Gardens, 614 Oronoco Street
Due to a private event, the last public tour of the historic home will be at 11 a.m. today.

Braddock DaySaturday, April 9 – Braddock Day at Carlyle House
Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 North Fairfax Street 
It is spring, 1755: Major General Edward Braddock, Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty’s Forces in North America convened a meeting of five colonial governors at John Carlyle’s Alexandria home. Among Braddock’s objectives was to secure funding for his upcoming campaign against the French. Carlyle called this gathering “the Grandest Congress … ever known on the Continent.” Come step back to the time of Braddock’s visit and learn more about the French and Indian War. Meet General Braddock and enjoy the sights and sounds of 18th-century! Costumed interpreters will be on site to answer your questions. Free (suggested donation of $1/person). 12 to 4 p.m. For further information please visit www.carlylehouse.org or call 703.549.2997.

Saturday, April 9 – Lecture: “What a Photograph Tells Us”
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street 
Learn how Charles Joyce traced the history of Francis Snow’s historical photograph of United States Colored Troops (USCT) at L’Ouverture Hospital in Alexandria. Images of USCT soldiers are uncommon, and remarkably, each man is identified on the back of this albumen photograph. These names provide an unusual opportunity to determine what happened to the men after the Civil War. Free, but reservations are encouraged.  2 to 3 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4356.

Saturday, April 9 – 12th Annual Rum Punch Challenge
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street 
Just as guests to the tavern did over 200 years ago, enjoy different rum punch creations from local distilleries, restaurants and caterers and vote for your favorite! The winner will be announced at the end of the evening. Also enjoy food – both period and modern – as well as a silent auction full of great items. Tickets are priced at $50 per person (includes admission – food and drinks for the evening) or $100 (includes admission and a pre-event VIP tasting with Bacardi). Reservations are required. Purchase tickets through event link above. 7 to 9:30 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4242.

Saturday, April 9 – A Celebration of Writing:  As Was Written
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street
It all started as a gathering of friends in a large Alexandria living room.  Growing bigger and bigger, their popular exchange of writings went public to a sold-out performance at The Lyceum in 2009 and now, As Was Written, returns to the Lyceum stage. The lineup includes Ben Sollee (music), Remy (comedy), Natalie McGill (comedy), Tim Hopkins (prose), Joseph LMS Green (poetry), plus more to come. Enjoy free wine and homemade desserts at intermission. Tickets are $18 in advance, $25 at the door. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 8:30 p.m. For tickets and further information, please click here.

Sunday, April 10 – Mad Science!
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, 105-107 South Fairfax Street
What do super heroes, crazy animals, and explosions have in common? A mad scientist probably made them! Come to the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum to explore where real science and mad science collide. 45 minute tours start every 30 minutes between 1 and 4:30 p.m. and feature historic medicines with surprising side effects. Upstairs, meet the Museum’s very own mad scientist bringing to life some crazy concoctions and the science behind them. Tickets are priced at $6 per person ages 5 and up, reservations recommended. 1 to 4:30 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.

ACW DancersSunday, April 10 – Dance in the Gallery: ACW Dances
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Veteran Athenaeum performers ACW Dances return for a special free show. Featuring new work by artistic director Abigail Wallace and core company members, the company continues to push the limits of physically embodied emotion. Stay for a Q&A where audience impressions become part of the art making process. Free! 2 p.m. For more information, please visit www.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

Monday, April 11 – Alexandria-Caen Sister City Committee
Alexandria City Hall, Sister Cities Conference Room 1102, 301 King Street 
Regular monthly meeting.  Free! 7 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4554.

Monday, April 11 – 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! Class fee is $15 per session, Basic or Advanced Techniques, attend both sessions for best results. To register for either or both sessions, click here. Basic Techniques class is 7 to 7:45 p.m.  Advanced Techniques is 7:45 to 8:30 p.m. Free practice session from 8:30 to 9 p.m. To register, click here. For more information, please visit garystephans@me.com or call 703.505.5998.

Now on Exhibit – Oils and Encaustics 
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
In her wax and oil paintings, artist Georgia Nassikas explores the intersection of the abstract and the representational. She focuses on the elemental lines, shapes, and colors that define at core of the natural world. The resulting calm luminous quality of her compositions urge inner reflection and outward preservation of earth’s beautiful balance. Over the past decade, in parallel with her organic beekeeping and gardening, she has refined her use of the ancient art of encaustic painting, prevalent in ancient Greece, Egypt, and Italy. She heats and mixes wax from her honeybees with natural pigments and damar cystals. Painting from a hot palette, she manipulates her multi-layered surfaces through marking, scoring, scraping, and burning. These paintings on wood panels present a surface tension and figurative complexity different from the traditional flow of oil as a medium. 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 – Medical Care for the Civil War Soldier  
Fort Ward Museum, 4301 West Braddock Road
Come see a variety of medical tools, instruments, equipment and images from the Museum’s Civil War collection.  A number of surgical instruments are displayed in a new exhibit, “Medical Care for the Civil War Soldier,”  that relate to some of the procedures already depicted in Mercy Street, such as:  a trephine used to drill into the skull, a surgeon’s amputation kit, a tourniquet, a tenaculum used to tie off arteries, suture needles, a forceps and scalpels.  Several examples of medicine tins are included which held contents like chloroform for anesthesia, cholera mix for digestive illnesses, and quinine to relieve fevers and other ailments.  Examples of small pocket surgical kits and a surgeon’s field case are included, as well as arm and leg splints and a crutch.

Images and information related to some of Alexandria’s Union Army hospitals are also on view, such as an original albumen photograph by Andrew J. Russell of the Mansion House Hospital, where the story Mercy Street is set, a period envelope with an engraving of the Lyceum Hospital on the cover, and photographs of other hospital facilities like the Fairfax Seminary and Wolfe Street Hospitals.  The exhibit continues through 2016, and is accompanied by a brochure on medical care for the Civil War soldier.

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 visit www.fortward.org.

Now on Exhibit – Hotel vs. Hospital
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street 
Learn the story of the fine hotel industry in Alexandria and how it quickly changed after the Civil War began. The City Hotel (today part of Gadsby’s Tavern Museum at 134 North Royal Street) was the only major hotel in Alexandria to remain open during the entirety of the war.  The two other fine hotels in town, Mansion House (transformed into a massive Civil War hospital) and Marshall House (site of the first Northern and Southern deaths due to violence in the Civil War), had closed. Guests will discover how tavern keeper Samuel Heflebower was able to remain in business as he catered to the new customers arriving in Alexandria.
For more information, please call 703.746.4242.

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.

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.

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