The Lyceum: Alexandria's History Museum
In 1839, a group of gentlemen calling themselves The Alexandria Lyceum joined with the Alexandria Library Company to build a grand hall to provide a place for lectures, scientific experiments and quiet reading.
Eventually, the building itself became known as The Lyceum and, since that time, it has been a Civil War hospital, a private home, an office building and the nation's first Bicentennial Center. In 1985, The Lyceum became Alexandria's History Museum, providing exhibitions, school programs, lectures and concerts, volunteer opportunities and space for rental functions for the community. The Lyceum Museum Shop carries a wide variety of maps, books, note cards and special items related to Alexandria's history. The present-day Lyceum Company serves the museum as a membership and fund-raising organization.
Registration for Clio's Kids summer camp is now open! Clio's Kids introduces children ages 5-7 years to American history and life in historic Alexandria through artifacts, storytelling, singing and crafts, "old-fashioned" games, and visits to nearby historic places. Click here to learn more about our summer camp.
“Occupied City: Life in Civil War Alexandria” examines life in an American town, seized and held by its own Federal government, following Virginia’s decision to secede from the Union in May 1861. See how Robert E. Lee’s hometown of Alexandria was transformed literally overnight from a prosperous, bustling commercial port into a supply, hospital, and transportation center for the Union Army, and find out why Alexandria became a destination for African Americans seeking freedom. Explore the experiences of Alexandrians and others who lived here during this tumultuous time, through their own words, as well as period photographs and collections items.
This teapot, in The Lyceum’s Howard W. Smith, Jr. Collection, demonstrates the beautiful and high quality work produced by Charles A. Burnett. Burnett, born in Virginia in 1769 was working by 1790. Although the reference has been lost, according to tradition he advertised in Alexandria in 1793. Burnett moved his shop to Georgetown by 1800, where he produced and retailed silver for close to fifty years.
Download the latest issue of our digital newsletter for The Lyceum and Friendship Firehouse Museum here.