This Week in Historic Alexandria (4.20.17) | News Release | City of Alexandria

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

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 3.55.19 PM.pngThank you, thank you, thank you!  Donations are still trickling in to the Office of Historic Alexandria after Spring2Action, Alexandria’s one-day fundraiser held on April 5.  Alexandria’s history museums garnered nearly $30,000 in support on that day, with ongoing annual pledges not included in that total.  Those will be tallied at the end of March in 2018.  In addition to gifts given to individual museums on April 5, this year a new donation category was added to support all seven Office of Historic Alexandria Museums, as well as Carlyle House and the Lee-Fendall House and Garden. Gifts to this category will be divided equally between all nine museums on an ongoing basis.

Thanks to the great people of Alexandria for their ongoing support of Alexandria’s history museums and their many public programs sponsored each week!


This Week in Historic Alexandria

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 3.56.57 PMOn April 25, 1752 the Fairfax County Courthouse and jail facility was moved from a location nears present-day Tyson’s Corner to downtown Alexandria, then the county seat.  Included within the first town hall building constructed at North Fairfax and Cameron Streets, a court would remain in the Alexandria government center on the north side of Market Square for over two centuries, first for the County of Fairfax and later for the City of Alexandria


Thursday, April 20 – 2nd Thursday Live: Tom Teasley and Peter Fields 
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street 
Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 3.59.42 PMTom Teasley is a globe-trotting percussionist whose innovative approach as a performer, educator, cultural envoy, theater composer and collaborator are heralded worldwide. Peter Fields is a classical/world/jazz guitarist who will join Tom for this special performance.  Tickets are available online at $15 per person.  7 p.m. For more information, please visit www.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

Thursday, April 20 – Civil War Ball Dance Classes 
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street
In preparation for the Civil War Ball on April 29, learn the waltz, polka, Virginia Reel and more from an expert dance master. Those not familiar with this style of dancing should complete at least one full class to become accustomed to the figures and language for the ball. Tickets are priced at $12 per class, and can be purchased online. Reservations are recommended. 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. For more information, please visit www.gadsbystavernmuseum.us or call 703.746.4242.

Saturday, April 22 – Hunting Creek Garden Club Marketplace
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Stop by the Athenaeum as part of a great day touring wonderful gardens and homes in Alexandria. The Hunting Creek Garden Club has curated a fabulous selection of vendors who will display their wares among the beautiful botanic art and bee photography in the gallery. Free! 9 a.m.to 3:30 p.m. Click here to learn more about the Old Town Garden Tour or to buy tickets. For more information, please visit www.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

photo: Carlyle House GardenSaturday, April 22 – Friends of Carlyle House Garden Day Herb and Craft Sale 
Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 North Fairfax Street 
Come celebrate spring with the Friends of Carlyle House’s Annual Garden Day Herb & Craft Sale. Tour Carlyle House, the actual site of the Mansion House Hospital featured in the PBS drama Mercy Street. Purchase culinary and decorative herbs, plants, and flowers raised in Mount Vernon’s greenhouses. Bring your gardening questions to the Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia. Enjoy live musical entertainment throughout the day, a bake sale, book sale, white elephant table, and more. Proceeds benefit Carlyle House.  This event is free, however admission to the Carlyle House museum is $5 for adults; $3 for children; FREE for Friends of Carlyle House or with your Alexandria Garden Day ticket. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event will take place rain or shine. For further information please visit www.carlylehouse.org or call 703.549.2997.

Saturday, April 22 – Lecture: Hidden Heroes by C.R. Gibbs
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street
Join author, lecturer, and historian of the African Diaspora, C.R. Gibbs, to learn about the soaring story of the unheralded black men and women who were doctors, mathematicians, engineers, scientists, and astronauts who helped and are still helping advance America’s race into space. Gibbs will offer brief profiles of several of these individuals as well as a timeline of United States aeronautical exploration. Free, but reservations by phone are suggested due to space limitations. 11 a.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4356.

photo: Alexandria's Firefighting HistorySaturday, April 22 – Firefighting History Walking Tour
Friendship Firehouse Museum, 107 South Alfred Street
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 age 10 and older. Tickets are available online, and are priced at $6 for adults, $4 ages 10-17. Reservations are required, as space is limited. 1 to 2:30 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4994.

Saturday, April 22 – Classical Piano Concert
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street
Featuring works by Schubert, Chopin, and Liszt. All proceeds to benefit wounded Ukrainian soldiers. 5:30 to 9:30p.m. Further program details to be determined by United Help Ukraine non-profit charitable organization unitedhelpukraine.org.  For more information, please email UnitedHelpUkraine@gmail.com.

photo: Georgetown SaxatonesMonday, April 24 – Georgetown Saxatones 
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street 
The Georgetown University Saxatones were created in 2003 as a co-ed a cappella group on Georgetown’s campus. Originally founded as an oldies group, the Saxatones have expanded their repertoire to include everything from alternative to pop to soul. As Georgetown’s only community service a cappella group, they are passionate about sharing their music with the National Capital Region and getting involved with area nonprofits and schools. Tickets are available online for $15 per person. 7 p.m. For more information, please visit www.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

Monday, April 24 – Alexandria-Caen Sister City Committee
Alexandria City Hall, Sister Cities Conference Room 1101, 301 King Street
Regular monthly meeting.Free! 7 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4554.

Now on Exhibit through May 14- Natural Attraction: Virginia Plants and Pollinators
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street 
To celebrate Historic Garden Week in Virginia, the Gallery will be filled with native plants and their pollinators. Members of the Botanic Art Society of the National Capital Region (BASNCR), as selected by juror Susan Frei Nathan, will depict horticulture native to this region. Deana Marion provides an intimate, almost microscopic look at Virginia bees. Open Thursday through Sunday, 12 Noon to 4 p.m. For more information, please visit www.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

objects, photographs and documents from the Fort Ward Museum collection related to the Defenses of WashingtonNow 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.

 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 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.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 4.00.29 PMOn Sale Now

Enjoy an evening from the 1860s on April 29, in the historic Gadsby’s Tavern ballroom at the Civil War Ball. The evening will include live music, dance instruction, and period desserts. Period attire, either civilian or military, is encouraged. Tickets are now available online, priced at $45 per person and advance reservations are required.


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