This Week in Historic Alexandria (3.28.17) | News Release | City of Alexandria


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

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 3.30.10 PM.pngThe Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA) is pleased to announce that an archaeological project at Fort Ward Park will begin within the next few weeks at the park’s former maintenance area, in anticipation of the restoration of that area later this year.  The area has been closed off for many years as the maintenance area was removed and earlier archaeological investigations were implemented to identify and map graves and cultural resources.  This work coincided with development of a management plan for Fort Ward Park that was adopted by City Council two years ago.  The uneven and rutted surface of the ground has been unsafe due to repeated ground disturbance, and a long-standing 6′ fence surrounding the site was allowed to remain standing while work continued.  However, when the current archaeology project is complete, work will begin later this summer to restore the ground surface and to remove the chain-link fencing, allowing public access for the first time in decades. Recent implemented permanent drainage improvements and the anticipated announcement shortly of a consultant team to prepare an interpretive plan for the park are part of a multi-year project to address community concerns at Fort Ward Park.  For more information on ongoing projects at Fort Ward Park, please click here


This Week in Historic Alexandria

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 3.32.30 PM.pngOn March 31, 1841, former President John Quincy Adams visited his old friend, Edmund J. Lee, who lived at the famous “Lee Corner” at North Washington and Oronoco Streets. The visit occurred just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court decision was announced in the famous Amistad case, which concerned an 1839 shipboard mutiny by captured Africans that occurred off the coast of Cuba.  Intent on returning to Africa, the ship was later intercepted by U.S. officials off of Long Island, New York, and those escaping slavery were put on trial for killing the ship’s captain and cook, and seizing the Spanish owned vessel.

Adams, who vehemently opposed slavery, was asked to represent the Africans on trial by abolitionist Lewis Tappan, and spoke before the Court for four hours straight in their defense.  His arguments were successful, and the mutineers were ordered free and returned to their homeland by the Court decision.  Decades before the Civil War began, Adams accurately predicted that, if not abolished, the evolving divide between the Northern and Southern states over the institution of slavery would ultimately tear the United States apart.


Tuesday,  March 28 – In Concert: USAF Band Chamber Players Series 
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street 
An evening of music for the Jazz Combo featuring members of the Airmen of Note. Free, no reserved seats; first-come, first seated! 7:30 to 9 p.m. For more information, please visitwww.usafband.af.mil  or call 703.746.4994.

Civil War 7 SongsThursday,  March 30 – Musical Presentation: The History of the Civil War in SEVEN Songs
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street 
Enjoy an immersive evening in Alexandria’s Civil War history at The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, on Thursday March 30. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a special reception that includes refreshments, a viewing of four costumes from PBS’ Mercy Street, and a special curator’s corner with selections from the Lyceum’s collections related to Alexandria’s Civil War history. At 7:30 p.m., join historian Carson Hudson and fiddler Arden Clark as they musically explore the tragic story of a time when America was at war with itself in the 1860s. Music could be found everywhere during the Civil War and it inspired and affected a generation of Americans in a way that has never really been repeated.

Carson Hudson is a multi-instrumentalist who plays banjo, harmonica, cigar-box fiddle, guitar, and an array of other instruments. Carson grew up with a love of string instruments and as a teenager dabbled in Rock & Roll, the blues, and Southern Baptist Hymns. Since then he has regressed to the roots of early Americana music. From a very early age, Arden was professionally trained on the violin and inherited a love of any and all stringed instruments, both foreign and domestic. She learned Classical and Baroque music and progressed into Japanese Koto, Celtic music, early Americana music, and Sea Shanties. Tickets are priced at $25 per person and are available online. 6:30 to 9 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4994.

African-American Experience During the Civil WarThursday,  March 30 – Mercy Street and the African-American Experience During the Civil War
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Audrey Davis, the Executive Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, will lead a conversation on the African-American experience in Alexandria during the Civil War. As the only native Alexandrian that is consulting for the hit PBS mini-series Mercy Street, she will lend insight into the making of the show. Tickets are priced at $15 per person and are available online. 7 p.m. For more information, please visit www.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

Friday, March 31 – Concert: Russian and Ukrainian Music
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street 
Tetiana Khomenko (balalaika) and Vitalii Lyman (piano), from Kiev, Ukraine are currently touring the United States. Please join this Ukrainian duo for an evening of diverse music … from captivating Russian and Ukrainian folk music to classical concert pieces – and even jazz! 7:30 p.m., Artist Reception to Follow Performance. Tickets are priced at $25 (at the door); $20 (advance). For tickets and more information, please call 703.549.0760 or visit www.balalaika.org.

Saturday, April 1 – Exclusive Lecture: Save Our Ship!
Torpedo Factory Arts Center, 105 North Union Street
Special lecture on new discoveries on Alexandria’s 18th-century ship by Benjamin Skolnik, Alexandria Archaeology. Find out the latest news about the ship excavated last year on the Alexandria Waterfront. Reservations are required. Book today and take full advantage of this unique opportunity to meet Alexandria Archaeologists and hear the latest research on the historic ship.

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

Reservations are required and available online. Please make a minimum donation of $10 to Save Our Ship through www.spring2action.razoo.com/story/Archaeologysos.  All proceeds benefit the Ship Conservation Fund. For more information about the ship’s excavation, stabilization, and media coverage, visit www.alexandriava.gov/87317. For more information on the lecture, please call 703.746.4399.

Saturday, April 1 – 13th 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), and are available online. Reservations are required. For more information, please call 703.746.4242.

Saturday, April 1 – In Concert: Saxofool 
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street 
Featuring Anders Lundegård on saxophone, Elizabeth Hill on piano, and Tim Price on theremin performing works by Grieg, Gershwin, and Lundegård. Tickets are priced at for $25 at the door, $20 in advance. 7 p.m.  Reception with Alternative Facts following. For tickets and more information, please visit http://www.classicalsaxophonist.com/.

Sunday, April 2 – 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! Explore where real science and mad science collide! Tours feature historic medicines with surprising side effects and the Museum’s very own mad scientist bringing to life some crazy concoctions and the science behind them. Groups welcome; program helps complete the Brownie Girl Scout Home Scientist badge. Max of 16 people including adults per tour. Recommended for ages 5-10, Tickets are available at $6 Audience: Kindergarten-4th grade and Scouts, and are available online. 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.3852.

The Hand print WorkshopNow 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.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.

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 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 2017-04-03 at 3.28.18 PMOn Saturday, April 22, at 1 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 for ages 10-17 and are now available online. Reservations are required, as space is limited.


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