Point of Interest - Alexandria Archaeology Museum

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Alexandria Archaeology Museum

Professional archaeologists, local volunteers, and students work alongside citizens and contractors to illustrate Alexandria’s past. City archaeologists review any proposed construction in the city and determine any potential impacts on the precious archaeological resources. Sites can only be excavated for development if there is a predetermined link to learn more about the past.

Currently, Preserving Alexandria’s Maritime Heritage is the main exhibit at the museum. It focuses on a recent discovery of four ships that were located along the city’s riverfront, not far from the museum itself! The exhibition documents one ship’s journey from the excavation stage to the conservation stage. Visitors can view a 3D model of one of the vessels and discover how archaeologists determined the ships’ purpose, age, and the role it may have played in this early port city and in the broader maritime world of the 18th century. Another great location in the area.

Another exhibit is titled A Community Digs Its Past: The Lee Street Site. In this exhibit, visitors see the excavation of one city block, at the corner of Queen and South Lee streets and it proves vital in understanding the history of Alexandria. This site is a microcosm of what life was like along an 18th-century wharf, what it was like living in a 19th-century home, shops, taverns and warehouses, and hospitals for Union troops during the Civil War. More information here.

The exhibits constantly change when there are discoveries made by archaeologists in Alexandria. These have included prior findings from prehistoric sites, an 18th-century tavern, and Civil War sites. Throughout any visit to the museum, visitors are encouraged to ask questions of the expert archaeologists and volunteers working in the public lab.

The museum is located on the 3rd floor of the Torpedo Factory Art Center on the outskirts of the Old Town neighborhood. It is open Thursdays 11am – 4pm, Fridays 1pm – 4pm, Saturdays 11am – 5pm and Sundays 1pm – 5pm. It is closed for major holidays. Admission is free to all visitors.

If you’d like to learn more about Alexandria, click here to read about Alexandria Black History Museum.

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