Museum Open Houses in Old Town for Lafayette in Alexandria Day + Tour the Hermione

Photo David COMPAIN-Ville de Rochefort via La Fregate Hermione Lafayette

Photo David COMPAIN-Ville de Rochefort via La Fregate Hermione Lafayette

In a previous post, I wrote about the return voyage of l’Hermione, the Frigate of Freedom, that delivered the young Marquis de Lafayette in 1780 to General Washington with full French aid. Well… it’s not exactly a return voyage since the ship is a replica, but it’s an authentically reconstructed one, 17 years in the re-making. After sailing 3,819 miles across the Atlantic, she’s about to land in Yorktown, just like Lafayette did 235 years.  Her next stop after that is Mount Vernon and Alexandria, both in Virginia. While she isn’t docking in Old Town until June 10th, the city is already rolling out the red carpet and building up the excitement with a Lafayette in Alexandria Day May 31st. From 1-5PM,  Alexandria museums will be open to the public free of charge, including: the Carlyle House Historic Park, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, the Old Presbyterian Meeting House, the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, Alexandria’s  Archaeology Museum, the Lyceum, Alexandria History Museum, the Friendship Firehouse Museum, Alexandria’s Black History Museum and Lee-Fendall House Museum. Lafayette himself, well, at least a replica, will be visiting guests throughout the day too!

In addition to Lafayette in Alexandria Day, there’s a couple of other events and cultural happenings going on in both Alexandria and Washington to celebrate Lafayette and the Hermione. 

While the French Ambassador’s residence was undergoing renovations, the ambassador would often host event at the Anderson House of the Society of Cincinnati.  From April 3 to September 6, 2015, the Dupont Circle area mansion will host an exhibition that explores Lafayette’s contributions to American independence as well as the history of the Hermione and French naval architecture of the eighteenth century.



The adorable creperie Fontaine Caffe (119 South Royal Street) will screen the hilarious French film La Chevre on June 11 at 7PM. The screening is actually part of their ongoing French movie night every Thursday which includes the following awesome films: Chinese Puzzle on 6/4, L’Auberge Espagnole on 6/25 and the Dinner Game on 7/23. Try their gluten free buckwheat flour crepes when you’re there. 


The tall ship will be docked at the Alexandria Marina and open for tour Wednesday from 11AM-4PM, Thursday from 9AM to 4PM and Friday from 9AM to 7PM. Unfortunately, all the tickets for the tours have sold out already, though you might be able to grab one of a limited number of tickets that will be distributed on a first come first serve basis at 8:30Am and noon each day at the dock. Even if you can’t board the ship, there will be pier side activities like costumed characters, musical performances by l’Opera Lafayette, interpretive stations with the 1st Virginia Regiment and Alexandria Seaport Foundation, and a traveling photographic exhibition that tells the story of Hermione, its reconstruction, and Lafayette’s role in the American Revolution.



From May 31 to June 14 the Topedo Factory Art Center is hosting an exhibition of archeological materials from Lafayette’s return trip to the United State as the “nation’s guest.”  Items on display will include commemorative and decorative items like portraits, ribbons and plates that were created especially for the occasion.