Old Town in Alexandria, Alexandria, Virginia, A City Full of History



Old Town in Alexandria, Virginia is home to several attractions covering varied historical interests. Home to just 140,000 people, this small Virginia city boasts several museums within its borders. Here are a few examples.

Alexandria Archaeology Museum

105 North Union Street, #327

Visit and see some of the archaeological discoveries made within the city of Alexandria. These include a fire well that was found right in Old Town. Learn how to participate in a Dig Day where family members of all ages are invited to tour an active dig site and then help to screen dirt for artifacts.

Alexandria Black History Museum

902 Wythe Street

On display in the Alexandria Black History Museum are important original documents, authentic carvings and a growing collection of photography that outlines the struggles and triumphs of blacks in America. The Watson Reading Room, which opened in 1995, features books, videos and magazines all pertaining to African American history.

Apothecary Museum and Gift Shop

105-107 South Fairfax Street

This is one of the oldest pharmacies in the country. Today, the mission of the museum is to educate visitors about public health issues that have arisen over the last few centuries. When what is now the museum closed for business as an actual pharmacy, the owners simply shut the doors and walked away. All of the inventory and other items were left behind and can now be seen by visitors exactly as they appeared in 1933.

Fort Ward Museum

A must-see for Civil War buffs, this museum features the usual uniforms and weapons, but there are also many items that give visitors a glimpse into the every day lives of soldiers. An authentic Sibley stove and items used for grooming are just two examples. Visitors can also get a peek inside an officers hut, which was recreated based on period photographs. Civil War re-enactors take part in many programs throughout the year at the museum as well.

There is history all around even for those who choose not to visit any of the museums. There are plaques throughout the area marking various historical facts. Maps for a self-guided walking tour can be picked up at some of the shops located in Old Town. Visit the Gadsby's Tavern (which now includes a museum) where the founding father of our country, George Washington, celebrated his birthday. Walk on some of the original cobblestone streets and visit a few of the quaint shops located in the area

A visitor from California said, "You can even take a monument tour on the Potomac or sail over to Georgetown and back. The shops are adorable - there really is something for everyone here!!''

Be sure to check current schedules for upcoming programs and events.

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