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This Week in Historic Alexandria – 8/20/2018 | News Release | City of Alexandria


The Alexandria Black History Museum Presents:

Story Time for Little Historians

Every first Saturday of the month at 11 a.m. the Alexandria Black History Museum will host a children’s story time in the Watson Reading Room (located next door to the museum.) Join us for cultural stories and creative craft activities that introduce world history and folklore. Explore the museum exhibits afterwards to learn about local Black History. All ages welcome, but most suitable for children 3 – 6 years old. $3 admission ages 3+.

September 1st – The Spider Weaver: A Legend of Kente Cloth.

By Margaret Musgrove & Julia Cairns

“It is said that long ago, long ago, a beautiful spider created a web so intricate and magnificent that the weavers of Ghana still tell the story today. The colorful patterns of this magical web were soon woven into a unique new fabric: kente cloth. This is the legend of that master spider weaver and the remarkable gift she gave to people everywhere.”

All children must be accompanied by an adult. For a group of 10 or more, please contact the museum to reserve a program in advance.

For the latest Historic Alexandria related news and events, visit alexandriava.gov/Historic.

Becoming the trademark tactic of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, the first sit-in occurred well before the era of social unrest that would characterize the decade of the 1960s. Prior to the famous Woolworth counter sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina, five courageous African-American youths staged the first deliberate and planned sit-in at the Alexandria “public” Library on August 21, 1939. On March 17, 1939, attorney Samuel Wilbert Tucker and retired Army Sergeant George Wilson, walked through the doors of the segregated Queen Street Library in Alexandria, Virginia and requested an application for a library card. Library policy was to not issue library cards to persons of the colored race. Tucker passed the newly erected Alexandria library on a daily basis, yet as an African American he had to travel to the District of Columbia to have access to library facilities. Unsatisfied with the unequal access to educational facilities, Tucker decided to battle the system of Jim Crow through the courts. A lawsuit was filed in the local court to force the librarian to issue a library card to Sergeant Wilson as a taxpaying citizen of the City of Alexandria. When the case was eventually heard on January 10, 1940, the judge rejected the petition for a library card for technical reasons, but  affirmed that “there were no legal grounds for refusing the plaintiff or any other bona fide citizen the use of the library.” The Virginia Public Assemblages Act of 1926 stated that both races were to be segregated within the same facility, therefore according to the law African Americans were unlawfully barred from the Alexandria Library. Within two days of the judge’s decision, two African-Americans applied for library cards. Yet they were refused by being informed that a new colored branch of the Alexandria library was under construction and that their application was under consideration. This was an obvious tactic to appease them until a separate colored branch could be opened. The colored branch was the Robinson Library, now the site of the Alexandria Black History Museum.

Although this first act of defiance against the system of Jim Crow did not garner the media attention, this was the first step towards the City of Alexandria seriously considering a colored branch for its African-American citizens and facing the issue of accessibility, however unequal, for all of its citizens.

Apothecary Geek Tour: American Sign Language for September 9

Learn about the muggle botanical science that inspired the potions and herbology of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and make your own magical sleeping potion! This tour will be conducted exclusively in American Sign Language. Only visitors fluent in ASL should attend this tour as there will be no English interpretation provided. Adults and children ages 8 and older welcome. Tour is from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and is recommended for adults only. Advance purchase is recommended due to limited space. Please arrive between 10:45-11:00 a.m. as the museum is not open to the public until 1 p.m. and the doors will be locked when the tour begins at 11 a.m.

August 25 Hamilton BFF and Frenemies Tour

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 N. Royal Street


Hamilton’s world emerges through the rooms of Gadsby’s Tavern Museum.  Hear about Hamilton’s “BFF’s and Frenemies” who all came to the tavern—Washington, Lafayette, Jefferson, Madison, and Burr—alongside stories from the enslaved men and women working at the tavern, like Candas and Moses.  Grapple with the realities of early America and how these stories intertwined to start a new nation.

Offered every Saturday at 10 a.m. through Labor Day Weekend.  $12 per person, $10 GTMS/Volunteers. Guarantee your spot by purchasing tickets in advance through alexandriava.gov/Shop.

August 25 and 26 Freedom House Museum Open

Freedom House Museum, 1315 Duke St.

1-5 p.m.

Experience a powerful exhibit in the basement of the building, which was once part of a larger complex used by the slave trading firm Franklin and Armfield. Through first-person accounts of enslaved men and women and details from the business, encounter the harsh reality of the domestic slave trade and Alexandria’s role. For more information, please visit here.   Admission $5 per person.

August 19 Geek Tour – Outlandish Tour

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, 105-107 S. Fairfax St.

11 a.m.-12 p.m.

Learn about the role of 18th century female healers and apothecaries on this tour that focuses on the herbal medicines featured in Diana Gabaldon’s celebrated Outlander series of novels. Find everything from cascara to dauco seeds.  Tour is from 11:00am to 12:00pm and costs $15 per person; tour is recommended for adults only.  Advance purchase is recommended due to limited space; pre-order tickets online at alexandriava.gov/Shop or by calling 703.746.3852.

August 24 Trivia Nights at Historic Sites

Lee-Fendall House Museum, 614 Oronoco St.

7-9 p.m.

Staff members of Carlyle House Historic Park and Lee-Fendall House Museum have combined their nerd knowledge to create bi-weekly trivia nights in the beautiful gardens of Lee-Fendall House. Test your knowledge on all things from pop culture to history!

Trivia nights are $5 a person; includes 1 drink ticket. Additional drinks can be bought at our cash bar. Teams may have up to 6 members on them. Registration slots are first come, first served, so we recommend paying ahead of time to save your spot. Trivia will take place rain or shine. The Monday before trivia night tune in to our social media pages for that week’s theme. Ages 21 and over only.

Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite.

August 25 The War Of 1812 In Alexandria – A Walking Tour
Lee-Fendall House, 614 Oronoco St.
1-2:30 p.m.
A guided walking tour of people and places in Old Town associated with the War of 1812.  The tour will last approximately 90 minutes. Tickets are available in advance for $10 through Eventbrite, or for $15 at the door. Tour space is limited, so the purchase of tickets in advance is highly recommended. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and bring water.  FREE for members!

August 25 Under The Same Roof: Enslaved And Free Servants At The Lee-Fendall House

Lee-Fendall House, 614 Oronoco St.
2-3:30 p.m.
Explore the Lee-Fendall House from the perspectives of the enslaved and free African Americans who lived and worked in the home as domestic servants, both before and after the Civil War. This tour will include parts of the house that are normally closed to the public. Space is limited so advance tickets are recommended. Tickets are available through Eventbrite and are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Members of Lee-Fendall House are FREE.

August 26 Andes to Romances

The Athenaeum, 201 Prince St.

2 p.m.
Join us for an uplifting afternoon of authentic Andean melodies from the Latin-American repertoire and international song book of Juan Cayrampoma and Ernesto Bravo, performing as Andes to Romances. Using an array of traditional Andean and contemporary instruments they perform music that embodies the soul of the Andes while paying homage to love, hope, romance and their native land.


September 1 The Alexandria Black History Museum Presents: Story Time for Little Historians

Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St.

11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Bring your little learners to the Alexandria Black History Museum for cultural stories and creative craft activities that introduce world history and folklore. Story time will take place every first Saturday of the month at 11 a.m. in the Watson Reading Room (located next door to the museum.) Explore our museum exhibits afterwards to learn about local Black History. All ages are welcome, but most suitable for children 3 – 6 years old. Suggested $3 donation.

August 20 Alexandria-Dundee-Helsingborg Sister Cities Committee Meeting

City Hall, Sister Cities Room 1101, 301 King St.

7-9 p.m.

August 21 Historic Alexandria Resources Commission Meeting

Lloyd House, 220 N. Washington St.

7-9 p.m.

August 22 Alexandria Archaeology Ship Committee

Alexandria Archaeology Museum, 105 N. Union St., Suite #327

3:30-5 p.m.

Now through Labor Day: 10 Millionth Patent Scavenger Hunt

Multiple OHA museums

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), in collaboration with the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) and the City of Alexandria, has planned a summer-long Scavenger Hunt throughout Alexandria to celebrate the 10 millionth patent, granted on June 19th.

Participating museums have new exhibits featuring historical patents. Visit each location to collect a different inventor trading card. Each card features a caricature of a real inventor and information about one of their significant patents. Make sure to stop by each spot on the map to collect all of the USPTO inventor trading cards! The scavenger hunt runs through Labor Day.

You can find the Scavenger Hunt map and a complete list of museum participants at this link.

The following Office of Historic Alexandria museums are proud to participate in the Scavenger Hunt: Alexandria Black History Museum, Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, the Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, Fort Ward Museum, and Friendship Firehouse Museum.

Now on Exhibit – “John Rogers’ Civil War Statuary” Exhibit Opens at Fort Ward Museum

Fort Ward Museum, 4301 West Braddock Rd.

John Rogers was noted for his popular plaster-cast statuary groups that adorned many middle class Victorian parlors in 19th-century America.  In an age when most sculptors continued to produce idealized figures in the classical tradition commissioned by wealthy patrons, the honest realism of Rogers’ style and his goal to create modestly priced art that average people could afford earned him the title, “Artist of the Common People.”  The exhibit features fine examples of Rogers Groups from Fort Ward Museum’s collection, with some additions on loan from a private collection. Free! Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. 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.

Alexandrians Fight the Great War

The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington St.

This exhibition traces the experiences of local people during the first World War. The homes, hospitals, factories and shipyards of wartime Alexandria come back to life through the use of rare images, archival and modern-day video clips, quotes from participants, original objects including weapons, period music, and scale models. Open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 5 p.m.   For more information call 703.746.4994, or visit www.alexandriahistory.org.

Before the Spirits are Swept Away: African American Historic Site Paintings

Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St.

This exhibition, featuring Sherry Sanabria’s African American historic site paintings, is made possible by the Sanabria family, who generously donated her paintings to the Alexandria Black History Museum. These paintings are part of Sanabria’s “Sites of Conscience” series, which focus on 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 a.m.- 4 p.m., Sunday and Monday: Closed. Free, but donations are appreciated. For more information, please call 703.746.4356.

Our Community in Miniature: The African American Dollhouses of Sharon Frazier and Linwood Smith.

Through September 30th

Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St.

The Alexandria Black History Museum is pleased to host the third exhibition of their very popular 2008 show of African American dollhouses by Sharon J. Frazier and Linwood M. Smith. Twenty six beautiful miniature buildings with furnished rooms comprise the exhibition and remind the viewers of the forgotten businesses and people important to Alexandria’s vitality and development. The exhibition also provides a look at African American culture and the important institutions that made African American families strong – family, church, and school.

Honoring Our Veterans Exhibit

Through Veterans Day

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 N. Royal St.

Included in museum admission – Adults: $5.00, Children (ages 5 -12): $3.00

Veterans and active duty military personnel are free.

In 1929, the newly formed American Legion Post 24 purchased the buildings now known as Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, restoring them in honor of World War I veterans.  As part of the World War I Centennial Commemoration, learn more about the American Legion’s history in Alexandria and how Post 24 and 129 contributed then and now to the City of Alexandria.  Whether it’s 1929 or 2018, home or abroad, these men and women embody the idea of service.

John L. Lewis: Public Figure, Private Man

Lee-Fendall House Museum, 614 Oronoco St.

This exhibit examines the life and legacy of John L. Lewis, one of America’s most powerful, innovative, and controversial labor leaders and the long-serving president of the United Mine Workers of America. Lewis lived in the Lee-Fendall House from 1937 until 1969, during the height of his career in the labor movement. Exhibit is free with museum admission.

Old School, New Concept | The Compass Atelier

July 26- September 9

The Athenaeum, 201 Prince St.

Among the programs and classes offered by The Compass Atelier is a Master Artist Program (MAP). This multi-year program is founded on a combination of classical art building blocks and essentials that leads the student to technical mastery along with help, guidance, and inspiration to help them discover their artistic voice and create meaningful work.

The main gallery features the work of painters who are currently in, or have completed the MAP program. The rear gallery features paintings by Compass Atelier founder, Glen Kessler.

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