Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens is the oldest national historic preservation organization in the country, and it has always been in the forefront of the restoration field. Mount Vernon is the most popular historic estate in America and is open 365 days a year. Mount Vernon was the home of our first President George Washington. The grounds are well-preserved as is the home itself.
Alexandria Lyceum is a grand hall built in the late 1800’s to provide a place for lectures, scientific experiments and quiet reading. 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.
Walk to Old Towne! Old Towne is filled with historic landmarks, carriage rides and walking history tours.
Civil War enthusiasts might want to inspect Fort Willard just as President Lincoln did. Fort Willard has long since abandoned its military use and is now a quiet park like Fort Hunt.
If you are interested in architecture and local history visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House or the Woodlawn Plantation. The Collingwood Library and musuem is dedicated to providing information about our national heritage to the American Public. Collingwood is available to anyone who cares to learn of the heroic efforts made by American Patriots, particularly members of the Masonic Fraternity, in founding and developing this, the greatest nation on earth.
Collingwood is a resource as a local library but also interesting place to visit in it’s own right.
Gadsby’s Tavern in Old Town Alexandria is an Early American-style restaurant which holds a great history behind. It is a museum of 18th century where the buildings are noted for exquisite Georgian architecture with a colonial appearance.
Gadsby’s Tavern was named after Englishman John Gadsby who was a great leader in the City of Alexandria.
Dining at Gadsby’s Tavern in Old Town Alexandria is a unique experience. The food is excellent and the atmosphere exudes late 18th-century charm. Entertainment is provided and costumed staff provide friendly service.
About the Author --- Aubrey Nesbitt is a native of Northern Virginia who attended Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a veteran of the US Army and helps his family business by providing informational articles like this one. In addition to photography and blogging, Aubrey provides administrative support for the office.
The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum is know offering “Behind the Counter” tours. These tours include the examination of the building, archival materials, journals, letters, ledgers, orders, invoices and even actual prescription and formula books.
Tours are monthly on the 3rd Saturday from 9:00a.m.-10:30a.m. and are limited to 12 people because of the exclusive access given. You must make reservations and there is a cost. This includes a nice breakfast as well.
As a tribute to our first president, George Washington, the Masonic Memorial was created. The memorial looks like the ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria. With 9 floors in the edifice, it has something for everyone.
The first floor is dedicated to the Shriner’s, with the George Washington Memorial Theater joining along side. The second floor features the Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22. On the third floor is the Grotto Exhibit, an organization featuring the Master Masons. The fourth and fifth floors are covered with paintings, and historical documents. The sixth contains the Memorial Library. Once on the seventh floor you will experience murals of Masonic lessons. On the eighth floor is The Knights Templar Chapel. Finally, as you make your way to the ninth floor you will see a replica of King Solomon’s throne.
This historical site is a must see. It contains many reflections of one of our founding fathers and a glimpse inside the mysterious. The Masonic Memorial is easily accessible near the King Street Metro. The Masonic Memorial has a spectacular view of King St and is right in front of the Alexandria Amtrak station.
Old Town Alexandria is famed for its quaint historical atmosphere. Englishman John Gadsby operated a tavern here from 1796 to 1808. In those days, the tavern was the hub of political, business and social circles in Alexandria. Thus,
Gadsby’s Tavern is an important part of the 18th Century heritage of today’s Old Town Alexandria.
Today Gadsby’s Tavern Museum is located on Royal Street, a few blocks from route of the King St. trolley. Admission is only $4 for adults and $2 for children. Children under 11 are FREE when accompanied by a paying adult. The museum consists of two buildings, a ca. 1785 tavern and the 1792 City Hotel.
While in operation, the tavern was the setting for dancing assemblies, theatrical and musical performances, and meetings of local organizations. Prominent patrons such as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Marquis de Lafayette are part of the history of Gadsby’s.
At the tavern you can journey back to the 18th-century in a place where famous historical figures and everyday people dined and slept. The museum helps educate today’s generations about the history, architecture, decorative arts, social customs, food, and clothing of the 1700’s.
There is a restaurant still in operation in the building. The tavern can be rented for weddings, banquets and any meeting where linen tablecloths and a post-colonial setting are appreciated. Please note some tour times are not available due to special events at the museum. Please call in advance or check the online calendar for more information.
The Newseum located in the heart of DC claims itself to be the most interactive museum in D.C. It is found on 555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20001 and is kid friendly. The newseum is a great place for younger audiences to interact with local and national headlines. It offers a balcony flaunting an excellent view of the capitol (pictured below).
A first Amendment Tablet made of marble is located on the front of the museum. The exhibits include a Great Hall of News, a Pulitzer Prize Photography Gallery, a 4-D film adventure theater, a Berlin Wall Gallery, a Documentary Theater, and a Sports theater. Special sites include a September (9-11) gallery of the news coverage of this landmark event and an archive of major news headlines ranging from the presidential impeachments to technological achievements.
The museum is very visitor oriented; there is even a broadcast studio that guests can report the news themselves. It features a green screen and teleprompter that guests can read off of. Options even include a weather reporting station.
The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) is part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s preeminent museum and research complex.
The Museum is dedicated to inspiring curiosity, discovery, and learning about the natural world through its unparalleled research, collections, exhibitions, and education outreach programs. Opened in 1910, the green-domed museum on the National Mall was among the first Smithsonian building constructed exclusively to house the national collections and research facilities.
The Newseum is located at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. between the White House and the U.S. Capitol and adjacent to the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall. The exterior’s unique architectural features include a 74-foot-high marble engraving of the First Amendment and an immense front wall of glass through which passers-by can watch the museum fulfill its mission of providing a forum where the media and the public can gain a better understanding of each other.
The Newseum features seven levels of galleries, theaters, retail spaces and visitor services. It offers a unique environment that takes museumgoers behind the scenes to experience how and why news is made. The Newseum offers visitors an experience that blends five centuries of news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits.
Mount Vernon, Virginia —The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation has pledged $38 million to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, to construct a new library destined to be the international headquarters for knowledge about America’s most famous founding father.
Construction of the 45,000 square foot facility, which will be named the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, is expected to begin in early 2011, with a completion date in 2012. The facility will be tucked into the woods across from Mount Vernon’s conservation complex and within walking distance of the Mansion itself.
As the nation’s first and only center for amassing and disseminating knowledge about Washington, the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington will safeguard Washington’s books and manuscripts, serve as a scholarly retreat, create educational outreach programs on Washington, and provide seminars and training programs with a special focus on Washington’s leadership.
As the longtime chairman of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, Fred W. Smith has championed a number of projects related to George Washington, including the purchase of the famous Lansdowne portrait of Washington by Gilbert Stuart for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. In addition, under Smith’s leadership, the Foundation has supported the construction of a museum and education center at Mount Vernon, a pair of major traveling exhibitions about Washington, and special programs focusing on Washington for students and teachers across the nation.
“I am pleased and humbled that my fellow trustees have approved the award of this grant and the naming opportunity in my honor,” stated Smith. “It is our hope that this new facility will be a tool that the staff at Mount Vernon and Washington scholars can use to keep his place in American History as not only the Father of our Country but arguably our greatest president of all time.”
The Foundation’s gift is the largest in the history of Mount Vernon, which ranks as the oldest and most visited national preservation project in America. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, which purchased the estate from the Washington family in 1858 and opened it to the public in 1860, is unusual in that it receives no funds from the local, state, or federal governments.
“Fred Smith and the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation have enabled us to remain a leader among historic sites around the globe, without calling upon the government for help,” noted Boyce Ansley, Regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. “Mount Vernon is a totally different and far more exciting educational experience because of their support.”
The idea for a facility that serves the role of George Washington’s presidential library is not a new one—it has been part of Mount Vernon’s master plan for several years. Although Washington continues to be one of the most familiar faces in American history, numerous surveys and focus groups have revealed that a majority of Americans—particularly those in younger generations—know little about Washington’s achievements or personality. Coverage of Washington in many history textbooks has declined to about 10 percent of what it was 50 years ago. When one state’s high school students were recently asked the question, who was America’s first president, only 26 percent identified “George Washington” as the right answer.
Most American history scholars generally rank Washington as one of the nation’s three most important presidents, along with Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. “Few scholars would argue that Washington’s leadership and character still sets the gold standard,” noted James Rees, President of George Washington’s Mount Vernon. “He remains a very relevant role model, particularly as the nation faces a challenging time in its history.”
Although The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington will house hundreds of manuscripts, books and other documents drafted and owned by Washington, the complete array of Washington’s written works, which number in the tens of thousands, are spread among collectors, both public and private, across America. But Mount Vernon’s library will bring them all together in a complete digital record of letters to and from Washington, assembled by scholars at the University of Virginia over a period of some 40 years. All the records related to The Papers of George Washington project will be transferred to the library at Mount Vernon when the last of approximately 90 volumes of letters is edited, roughly 15 years from now.
Until then, the library will provide a secure and environmentally friendly home to 45 books from Washington’s original library, as well as 450 letters and other manuscripts written in his hand. The collection also includes approximately 1500 additional 18th-century books, as well as thousands of important 19th-century newspapers, manuscripts, and documents. The bulk of the library stacks will be filled with modern books about Washington and the founding era, which will be made available to a much wider constituency.
Historians and authors will have a far easier time accessing the information in Washington’s writings, and Mount Vernon will more than double its library staff to provide expertise and assistance. Serious researchers who are drafting articles, papers or books about Washington will be lodged in a convenient guest house adjacent to the Library, equipped with six bedrooms.
Simultaneously, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association hopes to create a Mount Vernon Press, which will publish new research on Washington, his family and his times, in both printed and digital versions.
A team of education and media experts will also move to the new Library, charged with the task of disseminating the research findings to the largest and most diverse audiences. To accomplish this goal, the Association will form partnerships with universities, state school systems, patriotic societies, technology firms, movie producers, computer game creators, and others from both the public and private sectors.
The Library will also host small and medium-sized conferences and symposiums focusing primarily on leadership training. Five meeting spaces will accommodate between 15 and 100 guests, working in tandem with two larger spaces across the street at the Mount Vernon Inn Complex—a Distance Learning Classroom that accommodates 40 participants in a high-tech environment and the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Auditorium with a capacity of 200 guests.
Over a period of three years, the Association is spending nearly $2 million to expand and improve its website technology, and thousands of period artifacts, books, and manuscripts will be included on the site.
The Association has also announced that it has entered the first phase of an $80 million capital campaign, with the commitment from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation providing almost half the goal. In addition to building the Library and adjacent guest house, funds from the campaign will endow the Library’s operation, underwrite new positions, and create new programs, especially for students and teachers.
“We are pleased to be the lead donor in the Capital Campaign to build and endow the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington,” stated Steven Anderson, President of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. “We believe that this facility will enhance educational outreach from Mount Vernon in much the same way that the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center expanded the onsite experience for visitors to the historic estate.”
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it has committed over $69 million in support of Mount Vernon.