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This Week in Historic Alexandria 6.20.16 | Newsletter | City of Alexandria


This summer, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, and Carlyle House Historic Park join more than 2,000 museums across America in offering free admission to active duty military personnel and their families as part of the Blue Star Museums program.

Blue Star MuseumsBlue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and museums across America, offers free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel (including National Guard and Reserve and their families) from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The program, which began in 2010, provides families an opportunity to enjoy the nation’s cultural heritage and learn more about their new communities after a military move. Leadership support has been provided by MetLife Foundation through Blue Star Families. The complete list of participating museums is available at

“Parents of young children tell us that they go together to museums to learn new things and have family time together,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Blue Star Museums helps them do both, by helping military families learn about the cultural resources in their communities, and offering a fun, high quality experience that’s budget friendly as well as family friendly. We’re proud to help connect museums to military communities nationwide.”

“Blue Star Museums has grown into a nationally recognized program that service members and their families look forward to each year,” said Blue Star Families Chief Executive Officer Kathy Roth-Douquet. “It helps bring our local military and civilian communities together, and offers families fun and enriching activities in their home towns. We are thrilled with the continued growth of the program and the unparalleled opportunities it offers.”

This year, more than 2,000 (and counting) museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa are taking part in the initiative. Museums are welcome to join Blue Star Museums throughout the summer. The effort to recruit museums has involved partnerships with the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of Children’s Museums, the American Association of State and Local History, and the Association of Science-Technology Centers. This year’s Blue Star Museums represent not just fine arts museums, but also science museums, history museums, nature centers, and dozens of children’s museums.

Monday, June 20 – Alexandria Sister Cities Committee 
City Hall, Sister Cities Room 1101, 301 King Street
Regular Monthly meeting.  Free! 7 to 8 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4554.Monday, June 20 – Public Records Advisory Commission
City Hall, Sister Cities Room 1102, 301 King Street
Regular Monthly meeting.  Free! 7:30 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4753.

Monday, June 20 – 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 or call 703.505.5998.

Tuesday, June 21 – Historic Alexandria Resources Commission 
Lloyd House, 220 North Washington Street
Regular Monthly meeting.  Free! 7 p.m. pot-luck dinner for members, 8 p.m. meeting. For more information, please call 703.746.4554.

Thursday, June 23 – Photography Workshop with George Tolbert 
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street 
The former U.S. Senate photographer provides tips and techniques that will make the images you capture victorious. Participants are encouraged to bring their own images on a thumb drive or CD to garner tips on improvement during the session. Free! 6 to 8 p.m. For more information, please contact or call 703.746.4356.

18th-Century ShipSaturday, June 25 – Lecture on the 18th-century Ship 
Torpedo Factory Art Center, Main Floor, 105 North Union Street
By examining the wood and iron fastenings from Alexandria’s recently excavated ship at 220 South Union Street, the speaker illustrates how deep draft cargo vessels were constructed, repaired, and beached and broken during the 18th century in the Mid-Atlantic. Emphasis is placed upon historic documents relating to Alexandria during the 18th century as well as the story the timbers tell. Jason Lunze is a Maritime Archaeologist who holds a Master’s degree from the University of Southern Denmark. Free, but advance reservations are required.  10 a.m. to 12 noon. To make reservations or for more information, please or call 703.746.4399.

Saturday, June 25 – Lecture: Let’s Talk About Marriage and Finance 
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street 
With Nicolas Troy Abrams – A Certified Financial Planner ™ Professional and Founder and CEO of AJW Financial Partners, LLC of Columbia and Washington, D.C., discusses the wealth management and financial planning that couples should commit to before marriage. Free! 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, please contact or call 703.746.4356.

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary ShopSunday, June 26 – Special Civil War Tour of Apothecary
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, 105-107 South Fairfax Street
The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum will offer special tours, The Apothecary and the Civil War, every Sunday at 12:30 p.m. through Labor Day weekend. This approximately 30 minute tour will feature themes similar to PBS’s Mercy Street. Topics include abolitionism in the Quaker community, prescriptions from the Civil War era, and the Leadbeater family during the war. Special archival materials will be showcased during the tour and period ingredients covered in detail. Tickets are priced at $6 per person and are limited, so advance purchase is suggested. Tickets may also be sold at the door, if available for that day’s tour. Doors open at 12:15 p.m. and will lock once the tour begins at 12:30 p.m. For more information or tickets, please call 703.746.3852.

Sunday, June 26 – Special Family Tours at Gadsby’s Tavern
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street
Special Family Tours, led by Junior Docents grades 4-7 offered every Sunday until Labor Day Weekend from 2-5pm at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. Thanks to stationed guides, families will be able to start a tour as soon as they arrive and move through the museum at their own pace, and children will be able to connect with the museum through their peer tour guides. Tour ends with activities in the ballroom that explore the science behind the historic ice well, including making (and tasting) ice cream! Family tours begin June 26 and end Labor Day weekend. $5 adults ($4 with AAA membership), $3 children ages 5 to 12, and 4 and under are free. Alexandria City Public School families and Blue Star Families are free and coupons, including the Key to the City, are accepted. 2 to 5 p.m. For more information, please or call 703.746.4242.

The LyceumSunday, June 26 – Concert: Music of Beethoven and Mozart
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street 
Featuring John Sutherland Earle on the piano and Krista Moebius Smith on the violin, and sponsored by the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association. Free, but donations graciously accepted. 3 to 4:30 p.m. For information, please visit or call 703.799.8229.

Sunday, June 26 – Concert: 3rd Annual Ensemble de Camera of Washington LLS Fundraiser
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street 
Ricardo Cyncynates (violin), Claire Eichhorn (clarinet), David Hardy (cello), and Lisa Emenheiser (piano), Hindemith Quartet, Haydn Piano Trio in E Major, Brahms Clarinet Trio, Op. 114 and the World Premiere of Tudor Dominik Maican Quartet, Rise, written for this occasion. Admission is free, but donations to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society are encouraged. 7 to 9:30 p.m. For more information, please visit or call  703.851.9050

Now on Exhibit – Julia Bloom and Susan Hostetler / The Beauty of Inflections
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street 
The summer exhibition of the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association, featuring the work of Julia Bloom and Susan Hostetler. Free! Open Thursday through Sunday, 12 Noon to 4 p.m. For more information, please visit or call 703.548.0035.

Now on Exhibit – Medical Care for the Civil War Soldier  
Fort Ward Museum, 4301 West Braddock Road
See “What’s New” segment above. 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

Civil War HospitalNow 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 or call 703.549.2997.

Now 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

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 or call 703.548.1789.

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Other Historic Sites and Resources
This Week in Historic Alexandria

Restored Government of Virginia

On June 20, 1863, Alexandria became the official capital of the Restored Government of Virginia. At the start of the Civil War, counties in northwestern Virginia opposed secession.  These counties had advocated for separate statehood long before the war started, but the U.S. Constitution forbade states from being created within the borders of existing states without approval of that state’s legislature.  However, once the war began, the federal government recognized the City of Wheeling as the capital of the Restored Government, and within two years the new State of West Virginia was approved.  At that time the Restored Government of Virginia moved from the new state to a new capital at Alexandria.  When the war ended in 1865, the state capital moved again to Richmond, which had acted as the capital of the Confederacy during the war years.
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Family Fun Day

Circles… Squares… Triangles… Shapes are everywhere! On Tuesday, June 28 at 10 a.m. come to The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum where families can explore how shapes are used in buildings – in the classroom and on the streets of Alexandria. We’ll look at and sketch buildings old and new to help us build our Alexandria of the future! Families are encouraged to bring recycled materials to share during our building workshop and should be prepared for a short walk outdoors, including walking shoes, sunscreen, and clothing appropriate for the weather.Family Fun Days are designed to engage the entire family, recommended for ages 4 and up. Tickets for children are $8 per child, adults are free! Advance registration is required. For further information, please call 703.746.4994.

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