The Lyceum - Alexandria's History Museum

Explore the History of Old Alexandria

The Lyceum
Photo by Eric Kvalsvik

The Alexandria Lyceum serves as the city’s history museum providing exhibitions, lectures, concerts, and special programs. Built in 1834, the museum displays more than 1,500 objects that tell the story of Alexandria, Virginia from its founding in 1749 through the present day. The collection includes furniture, textiles, ceramics, silver, glass, tools, art, photographs, newspapers, toys and more.

Alexandria History

Alexandria's history dates back to pre-colonial times when Native Americans settled in the area. The seaport was vital during colonial times, and the nearby area was home to George Washington. Thomas Jefferson entertained guests at Gadsby's Tavern; Civil War general Robert E. Lee lived in Alexandria with his family and eventually became one of the most famous figures of his time. Alexandria was both vital in the defense of the nation's capital and essential in the war effort as a transportation and hospital center for the Union.

The Old Town Alexandria historic district was established in 1946 as only the third historic district designated in the United States. Over 40 sites in Alexandria are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including five historic districts and nine African American sites.

The Museum

The Lyceum is a Greek Revival building that was constructed in 1834 and was an important center of Alexandria’s cultural life until the Civil War. Since that time, the building has been used as a Civil War hospital, a private home, an office building and the nation's first Bicentennial Center. An interpretive display located on the first floor of the museum tells the history of the building. The Lyceum's Lecture Hall is available to rent for private events. The Lyceum Museum Shop offers maps, books, stationery and other items related to Alexandria's history.

Admission is $2. 

Location

Address: 201 S. Washington Street Alexandria, Virginia (703) 746-4994 See a map of Alexandria

The Lyceum is located at Prince and Washington Streets in Old Town Alexandria, near many shops, restaurants, museums and historic sites. Free parking is available in the adjacent lot while visiting the Lyceum. The museum is located in Old Town Alexandria, near many shops, restaurants, and other museums and historic sites. Alexandria is half-way between Washington, D.C. and Mount Vernon.

Museum Hours
Monday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m. Closed: New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas

Official Website: www.alexandriava.gov/Lyceum

Alexandria is a revitalized waterfront with cobblestone streets, colonial houses and churches, museums, shops and restaurants. Take a self-guided walking tour and learn about the main historic sites. There are also a variety of fun guided tours available including cruises on the Potomac River, horse drawn carriage rides, ghost tours, and historic walking tours. See Alexandria, Virginia Sightseeing Tours