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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site
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Page updated May 17, 2015 3:38 PM
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Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site

Firing Drill, Civil War Camp DayFort Ward is the best preserved of the system of Union forts and batteries built to protect Washington, DC during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Fort Ward Museum interprets the site's history and offers exhibits on Civil War topics, education and interpretive programs, tours, lecture and video series, bus tours, and living history activities throughout the year. The Museum and Historic Site also interpret Alexandria, Virginia as an occupied city, the city's role as a vital Union Army crossroads, life within the Defenses of Washington, and the everyday life of Civil War soldiers and civilians.

The historic fort provides visitors with an excellent understanding of Civil War-era military engineering. About 90% of the fort's earthwork walls are preserved and the Northwest Bastion has been restored and reconstructed to its original condition.

Civil War Camp Day at Fort Ward

Saturday June 13, from 10 am to 4 pm

Learn about Civil War soldier and civilian life, at this annual living history event featuring Union and Confederate military and civilian reenactors in camp settings. The program includes infantry and artillery drills and firing demonstrations, equipment displays, and civilian interpretations. Tours of the historic Union fort will be offered during the day, and a reenactor stationed in the reconstructed Officers’ Hut will describe the daily routine and living quarters of an officer in the Defenses of Washington. Suggested donation is $2 per person or $5 per family. The program is weather dependent.

 

Civil War Sesquicentennial Events and Information 

To help tell the story of the City's Civil War past, the Office of Historic Alexandria is holding many special events and exhibitions throughout the Civil War Sesquicentennial. Witness to war and reunion, Alexandria's place in Civil War history is truly unique. Learn more about Alexandria during the war with a wide range of historic resources. Alexandria, surrounding jurisdictions and the National Park Service have created the  Alexandria Civil War Defenses of Washington Bike Trail  as part of the Civil War Sesquicentennial commemorations.

Check out the  Calendar of Events for the latest information  on Sesquicentennial events at Fort Ward and throughout Historic Alexandria, including Lectures, Dance Classes, Movies, Civil War Sundays, and more.

Accessible Walkway 

A public walkway, which meets the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act, makes the historic fort, begins at the fort’s reconstructed entrance gate and leads visitors to the restored Northwest Bastion. Construction was supported by a Save America’s Treasures grant administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior, matched by City of Alexandria funding. Construction of the walkway yielded an important discovery – the site of the fort’s well, which City archaeologists partially investigated and documented. The well site corresponds with the location designated by military engineers on an 1864 plan of Fort Ward. 

 

Exhibits

Captain Miles Field Desk 

The exhibition, "50 Years of Collecting: An Anniversary Exhibit of Objects from the Fort Ward Collection," celebrates the 50th anniversary of the opening of Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site.

The exhibit features some rare items related to the Defenses of Washington, such as an 1862 panoramic drawing of Fort Albany by the soldier-artist William Lydston; a folding camp chair that belonged to an officer in the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery; and a Lambley’s portable copying machine used by an officer from the 57th Massachusetts Infantry.   Objects that interpret the Union occupation of Alexandria, such as a proclamation declaring martial law in the city, are also featured.  Examples of newly acquired objects are a field desk with personal belongings owned by a captain in the 107th New York Infantry, and a John Rogers statuary group, “Uncle Ned’s School,” which aimed to portray the efforts of newly freed African Americans to better their lives through education in the post-war years.

For Civil War Reenactors

Information for Civil War Reenactors: The Fort Ward Museum enlists the talents and knowledge of reenactors to offer numerous living history programs interpreting Civil War soldier and civilian life. Programs contribute to the public’s understanding of the period and enhance the Museum’s educational mission.  

The Fort: A Post-Civil War African American Community

Visit Fort Ward Park to see new historic signage highlighting the post-Civil War African American community known as The Fort. A copy of The Fort Heritage Trail Brochure  is available online.

This community is the focus of an effort by the Office of Historic Alexandria to study and preserve the post-Civil War historic resources of Fort Ward Park. Archaeological excavations in the park, historical research, and oral histories highlight our growing knowledge of this community. Learn about the  Stakeholder Advisory Group , and about archaeological and historical research, including reports on excavations, transcriptions of oral history interviews with former residents.


  Upcoming Events

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American Alliance of Museums
Accredited Museum
 

 


 

 

Fort Ward Museum 
& Historic Site
4301 West Braddock Road
Alexandria, Virginia 22304
703.746.4848
Fax: 703.671.7350
Email 

Museum Hours
Tuesday - Saturday
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, Noon to 5 p.m.
Monday, Closed

Park Hours
Daily, 9 a.m. to sunset

Office Hours
Tuesday - Saturday
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.