This Week in Historic Alexandria (3.2.17) | News Release | City of Alexandria

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-3-40-15-pmWhat’s New in Historic Alexandria

Archival ResearchSpring is in the air and the Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA) is now seeking a new corps of volunteers to assist the operation of City museums and historic sites over the coming year.  Opportunities abound to share your pride in Alexandria’s history and heritage programs, as you support Alexandria’s city-owned museum system, one of only eight municipally-operated museum systems in the United States.  Last year, OHA volunteers contributed over half a million dollars’ worth of donated labor to supplement programming and visitor services that would not have otherwise been possible.   Volunteer positions are available at virtually all locations with a variety of duties, including greeter, tour guide, researcher and conservation assistance.  No experience is necessary, you will be trained for the role that meets your interests and available time commitment.  Join the hundreds of long-term volunteers that are an invaluable part of the OHA family as you share your knowledge and skills with other residents and visitors to our great city! To pursue volunteer opportunities at OHA museums and museums partners, please click here.


This Week in Historic Alexandria

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 3.34.03 PM.pngOn March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as President of the United States.  The election of 1860 was hotly contested, with four candidates vying for the position.  Lincoln received no majority in any Southern state and in Alexandria he received only two votes out of almost 1,000 cast.  The outrage of his election in Southern states was so strong, that for his own safety, he had to enter the City of Washington secretly in the dark of night.  Almost immediately votes of secession by state legislatures in the South began and within three months the American Civil War had begun.



Friday, March 3 – Children’s Concert: Vive La Musique
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street
Children and families are invited to attend a special concert with local musician, Achille, who will be singing popular children’s French songs. Achille Ango grew up in Cameroon (Central West Africa). After graduating from high school, he went to France for seven years to study and play music. He has played music with various bands in the Washington area for more than 20 years, and teaches French in an immersion school using music as an educational vehicle. This concert is sponsored by the Alexandria-Caen Sister Cities Committee. Tickets are priced $5 per person and may be purchased online or in advance at The Lyceum. Reservations are strongly encouraged, as space is limited. 5 to 6 p.m. For more information call 703.746.4994, or email AlexandriaCaenSisterCities@gmail.com

Whiskey ShelfFriday, March 3 – The Alexandria Sister Cities Scottish Tasting
Lloyd House, 220 North Washington Street
The evening will feature tastings of high quality Scottish whiskys, Virginia wines, fine foods and a special program including a discussion, tasting instructions, and a Q&A led by a Scotch whisky convener and expert. In addition to the tasting, BBQ dinner, wine and other beverages will be provided.  Proceeds from the fundraiser aid the Alexandria Sister Cities Committee mission to support the educational and cultural exchanges between Alexandria, Virginia and her Sister Cities of Dundee, Scotland and Helsingborg, Sweden. Tickets are priced at $45 per person. 7 to 9 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4554.

Saturday, March 4 – Historic Alexandria Resources Commission Retreat 
Christ Church, North Columbus Street
Annual retreat to discuss HARC’s mission, heritage tourism and policy recommendations for the coming year.Free! 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4554.

St. Patrick's Day ParadeSaturday, March 4 – St. Patrick’s Day Parade Open House at Carlyle House 
Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 North Fairfax Street
John Carlyle’s son-in-law, William Herbert, immigrated to America from Ireland and married Sarah Carlyle. He became an influential merchant, banker, and politician in Alexandria, resigning as Mayor on the eve of the War of 1812. Step back in time to see what life was like in the 18th century in Alexandria, and to learn more about this part of Carlyle’s family life. Admission is free, donations are welcomed. 12 to 4 p.m. For further information please visit www.carlylehouse.org or call 703.549.2997.

Saturday, March 4 – Gallery Talk: The Hand Print Workshop
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street 
Join us for a gallery talk discussing The Hand Print Workshop: Twenty Years of Partnership in Print. The gallery talk will feature Dennis O’Neil of the Hand Print Workshop, as well David Chung, Steven Cushner, Alexander Djikia, Vera Khlebnikova, and Renee Stout and will be moderated by Sarah Tanguy, Art Historian, independent curator and critic based in Washington, DC.  Event generously sponsored by Heather Corey and TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. Free! 3 p.m. For more information, please visit www.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

Sunday, March 5 – Women’s History Tour of Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street
In honor of Women’s History Month, tours of Gadsby’s Tavern Museum on Sunday, March 5 will highlight the many roles women played in tavern life—from owners to enslaved workers and overnight guests to event participants. Regular museum admission charged: $5 for adults and $3 for children 5-12 years old. Groups of 10 or more should call to book a time, otherwise no reservations needed. Tours will follow the regular museum schedule, offered every 30 minutes beginning quarter of and after the hour. Last tour at 3:45 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4242.

Monday, March 6 – 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.  For more information, please visit garystephans@me.com or call 703.505.5998.

Now on Exhibit through April 2 – The Hand Print Workshop: Twenty Years of Partnership in Print
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Dennis O’Neil’s Hand Print Workshop has fostered the work of printmakers across America and internationally, many of them leading artists from the former Soviet Union. This exhibit features a wide representation of the prints created by these artists in his Alexandria studios, including some by William Christenberry and Renee Stout — as well as works by O’Neil himself.  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 – Shield of Earth:  Defending the Heart of the Union 
Fort Ward Museum, 4301 West Braddock Road
This new exhibition that features objects, photographs and documents from the Fort Ward Museum collection related to the Defenses of Washington.  The exhibition covers both the formidable task of building the defense system, which made the Federal capital one of the most protected cities in the world, and some of the men who were assigned to duty in the Washington area.   Highlights of the exhibition include military passes issued by Provost Marshal’s Office, construction tools, and original photographs of some of Washington’s defenders, including a profile of Francis E. Brainerd, a soldier in the 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery who was stationed at Fort O’Rourke, not far from the present-day site of the Huntington Metro Station.  Items related to how the forts protected Washington’s vital transportation resources are also featured, such as a ship’s lantern, rail section from the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, and colored lithograph of Soldier’s Rest in Alexandria.  Several original drawings of forts by soldiers stationed at those sites are on view, and a construction report dated February 1865 details work projects such as completion of new officers’ quarters at Fort Ward.  Other unique items featured are a sketch showing where President Lincoln came under fire during the Battle of Fort Stevens, a field desk belonging to an officer in the 107th New York Infantry, and an 1862 map of the Defenses of Washington published by the engineer E.G. Arnold.   The exhibition will continue through 2017. 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.

Mansion HouseNow 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 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 visit www.alexandriahistory.org.

Now on Exhibit – Before the Spirits are Swept Away: African American Historic Site Paintings 
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street 
This exhibition, featuring 20 of Sherry Sanabria’s African American historic site paintings, is made possible by the Sanabria family, who generously donated 23 of her paintings to the Alexandria Black History Museum. Sherry, who had a studio at the Torpedo Factory Arts Center, passed away in 2014.  Her family has made it their mission to find homes for her paintings where they will be appreciated and preserved. This incredible donation permits museum staff to use the paintings to explore slavery, interpretation, and preservation of African American sites in Virginia. These paintings are part of Sanabria’s “Sites of Conscience” series, which has as its focus African American heritage, prisons, concentration camps, and mental hospitals. The Sites of Conscience series takes viewers to places of horror, places of pain and suffering, places we want to forget, but never should.

Robert Sanabria, Sherry’s husband, feels this series “… demonstrates the widespread practice of bondage in the American South and the determination of the enslaved to survive and maintain their connection with their creator. It is especially fortuitous to have these works together where they will be valued and available for the appreciation of generations to come….” 
Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am to 4 p.m., Sunday and Monday: Closed.  Free, but donations are appreciated. 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.


On Sale Now

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 3.35.48 PM.pngOn Saturday, March 11, the Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Society proudly presents the Best Bib & Tucker Ball 2017: Cherry Blossom Ball! For a night of unforgettable reverie, come join Doc Scantlin’s Imperial Palms Orchestra and the dazzling songstress, Chou Chou, for dancing and entertainment. Delight in koto music from Sachiko Smith. Enjoy sumptuous cuisine, copious libations, and a fabulous silent auction. $150 per person. Additional sponsorship levels available. For tickets and more information, please visit Gadsby’s Tavern Museum.


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