Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site
Fort Ward was taken under the wing of the City of Alexandria in 1961, and it has since been both restored and preserved as befits an important Civil War site. Today, this fifth largest of 162 forts built by Union forces features a completely restored northwest bastion and over 95 percent of its original walls. Both the fort and accompanying museum occupy a 45-acre park setting just east of Route 395.
The museum is open to visitors from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. on Tuesday through Saturday and from noon to 5 P.M. on Sunday. You can browse through artifacts, a research library, and a range of educational programs here. One recent exhibition covered “Medical Care for the Civil War Soldier,” full of the expected horrors of battlefield treatment; a gentler exhibit, “Off the Pages of Godey's: A Guide to the ‘Domestic Sciences,’” here featured items from Godey's, an influential magazine that set the standards for mid-nineteenth-century fashion, housekeeping, and deportment.
The historic site itself is open from 9 A.M. to sunset daily. A path runs along the earthwork walls and can take as long as forty-five minutes to walk. Admission to the fort and the museum is free.