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Alexandria History Museum at the Lyceum
The Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum is a breathtaking building that depicts the city of Alexandria, Virginia’s history from its colonial establishment until today. It was built in 1839 and was founded by a group of local men who were enthusiastic about improving public education and providing other cultural opportunities in the local area.
The building is today known simply as The Lyceum and along with the Alexandria History Museum, is also home to the Alexandria Library. The Lyceum is a jewel in the crown of early architecture that makes up historic Alexandria.
During the Civil War, the building served as a hospital for wounded Union soldiers, it was also a private home, served as the Chamber of Commerce for the city and a visitor’s center during the nation’s bicentennial celebrations. Today, visitors can enjoy a number of exhibitions, public programs, and a museum shop. It is also available for private events.
One of the most iconic features of the building is the brilliant white, large Doric columns on the exterior of the Lyceum. It not only makes the building immediately recognizable but also cements its place as being dedicated to higher learning and historic preservation.
The Alexandria History Museum has a number of eye-catching artifacts within it from the many wars Americans have fought and sacrificed their lives in. Visitors will be able to see up close weaponry and other tools from as far back as the Revolutionary war. Whilst the museum was dedicated to preserving the history and spirit of Alexandria, any history enthusiast of the United States will be drawn to the museum’s various collections and exhibits.
The daily life of people in important eras of our nation’s history is also vividly recreated for visitors to the Alexandria History Museum. They can expect to see room recreations, clothing, and other devices and technology that tried to make Alexandrian’s lives easier despite times of immense turmoil and hardship.
There are few other communities within the continental United States that have as many existing examples of Georgian and Federal period architecture as Alexandria, VA. The Lyceum building is most certainly one of them. In fact, each homeowner in the city has both the privilege and obligation to preserve its historic façade and character. Visitors will rarely see a better example than with the Lyceum.
The museum operates Thursday and Friday from 11am – 4pm, Saturday from 11am – 5pm and Sunday 1pm – 5pm. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Tickets for events must be purchased through The Alexandria Shop online. General Admission is $3 per person, $1 for youths aged 6-17, free for ages 5 and under and families can get in for $8. For Alexandria residents, AAM members, VAM members, Veterans, and city employees entry is free.
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