Alexandria, Virginia's New Tours, Exhibits and Events Bring PBS' MERCY STREET to Life January 12, 2016
CONTACTS:
 
Claire Mouledoux: CMouledoux@VisitAlexVA.com or 703-652-5367
Carrie Johnson: cjohnson@pbs.org or 703-739-5129
Lisa Summers, Missy Greenberg, Liz Sharkey, Alex Stromer: 
MercyStreet@DKCNews.com or 212-685-4300
 

Alexandria, Virginia’s New Tours, Exhibits and Events

Bring PBS’ MERCY STREET to Life

 
City that Inspired PBS Civil War Medical Drama
Announces New Visitor Experiences
 
Personal Stories of Union and Confederacy Converge in City Setting
 
Alexandria, VA— PBS’ first American drama in nearly a decade is inspired by real events of Civil War Alexandria, Virginia. This historic city celebrates the national spotlight on its heritage by presenting new visitor experiences for fans of the upcoming PBS series, MERCY STREET. Premiering on Sunday, January 17, 2016, at 10 p.m., MERCY STREET will follow six episodes of the final season of “Downton Abbey” on Masterpiece. The six-episode series takes viewers beyond the battlefield and into the lives of Americans on the Civil War home front. More than two dozen new tours, exhibits and events have been planned in Alexandria, kicking off in January 2016 when the show debuts.
Set in 1862, MERCY STREET follows the lives of two volunteer nurses on opposite sides of the conflict; Mary Phinney (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a staunch New England abolitionist, and Emma Green (Hannah James), a naive young Confederate belle. The two collide at Mansion House, the Green family’s luxury hotel that has been taken over and transformed into a Union Army Hospital in Alexandria.
Just outside of Washington, D.C., Alexandria was a border town between North and South and the longest Union-occupied city of the Civil War. Ruled under martial law, Alexandria was the melting pot of the region, filled with soldiers, civilians, female volunteers, doctors, wounded fighting men from both sides, speculators, spies, and African American refugees.

Today, visitors can get a close look at the story at Alexandria’s historic sites, with new visitor experiences launching in 2016. Visitor experiences uncover the real people behind the characters on the show, the realities of Civil War medicine, changing roles for women, and the breakthrough experience of enslaved African Americans claiming their freedom.
 
HIGHLIGHTS OF NEW VISITOR EXPERIENCES:
  • MERCY STREET-inspired tours of Alexandria, featuring stories and sites that inspired the show
  • “Who These Wounded Are: The Extraordinary Stories of the Mansion House Hospital” exhibit at Carlyle House, once the Green family home, featuring a new interpretation of period hospital rooms and doctor/officer housing, plus stories of nurse Mary Phinney and spy Frank Stringfellow
  • “Green Family Exhibit” at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, featuring purchases and stories of the Green family and Union Quartermaster staff
  • “The Journey to be Free: Self-emancipation and Alexandria's Contraband Heritage” exhibit at the Alexandria Black History Museum, telling the story of thousands of African Americans who escaped slavery and sought refuge behind Union lines in Alexandria
  • “Have Mercy” hotel package at Monaco Alexandria, a Kimpton Hotel, including deluxe accommodation with modern Civil War-inspired décor at the historically significant location, two hand crafted cocktails inspired by the Civil War era at adjacent restaurant Jackson 20, two tickets to Carlyle House Historic Park, and 5 percent donation to the American Red Cross
 
Located on the Potomac River waterfront just minutes from D.C., Alexandria hums with a cosmopolitan feel against an extraordinary historic backdrop. With luxurious accommodations just steps from historic sites, galleries, boutiques and restaurants, visitors can turn a “Mercy Street” excursion into a weekend getaway.
 
Find Alexandria Experiences inspired by PBS’ MERCY STREET at www.VisitAlexandriaVA.com/mercystreet
 
VISITOR EXPERIENCE DETAILS
 

HOTEL PACKAGE:

“Have Mercy” Package at Monaco Alexandria, a Kimpton Hotel
Available January 17 – July 1, 2016
480 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Experience the real inspiration behind PBS’s new television drama “Mercy Street” in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia by booking the new “Have Mercy” package at Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco Alexandria. Stay in the heart of historic Old Town Alexandria at Hotel Monaco, located just three blocks from the former Mansion House Hotel and Carlyle House as depicted in the show, and enjoy “Mercy Street”-inspired amenities, such as:
 
  • Deluxe guest room at the luxurious Hotel Monaco Alexandria with modern Civil War-inspired décor and rich Civil War history as the former location of the Marshall House where two of the first and most iconic deaths of the war occurred.
  • Two hand crafted cocktails inspired by the Civil War era at adjacent restaurant, Jackson 20. “Lee’s Temptation” will feature Bulleit Rye, Sweet Vermouth, Fernet Branca and Flamed Orange Peel, while “Virginia Gentleman” will feature Buffalo Trace Whiskey, American Honey Liqueur, Angostura Bitters, Lemon and Ginger Beer.
  • Two tickets to the Carlyle House Historic Park to learn more about the family and real events behind the PBS’s “Mercy Street.” Carlyle House and the adjacent luxury Mansion House Hotel, owned by the Green family, acted as a hospital and staff quarters during the Civil War and inspired the show’s characters and stories.
  • 5 percent of proceeds from the package will be donated to the American Red Cross to help military members, veterans and families with emergency communications, training, and support to wounded warriors and veterans.
 
Monaco Alexandria, a Kimpton Hotel’s “Have Mercy” package starts at $179 per night, not including tax. Package is available from January 17 – July 1, 2016. To book the “Have Mercy” package, use rate code MERCY at www.monaco-alexandria.com or call 703-549-6080.
 

EXHIBITS:

Who These Wounded Are: The Extraordinary Stories of the Mansion House Hospital
Carlyle House Historic Park
Opening January 19, 2016
121 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-549-2997
 
From 1861-1865, the U.S. Army used Carlyle House, then the home of Emma Green and her family, and the adjacent Mansion House Hotel as a hospital and staff quarters. The people who lived and worked at this site in Alexandria and their real life stories have inspired the PBS television show, “Mercy Street”. The owner of the house and hotel, James Green, was one of the richest men in town and made a deep historical footprint on Alexandria.
 
Carlyle House’s exhibit features the factual story of the history of the site and its occupants. Upstairs, a new interpretation will explore the lives of these individuals through period hospital rooms and doctor/officer housing.

Green Family Exhibit
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum
January to May 2016
107 S. Fairfax St, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-3852
 
The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary remained open and operational when Alexandria was occupied during the Civil War. The Green Family and Union Quartermaster staff shopped there to purchase everything from Laudanum to Cologne. Today, visitors can take a guided tour and experience the historic space where occupied Alexandria came to shop. The exhibit features the purchases and stories of the Green Family and the Union Quartermaster.
 
The Journey to be Free: Self-emancipation and Alexandria's Contraband Heritage
Alexandria Black History Museum
Exhibit extended through March 2016
902 Wythe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-4356
http://alexandriava.gov/BlackHistory
 
During the Civil War, thousands of African Americans escaping slavery sought refuge behind Union lines in Alexandria, Virginia. The fugitives found freedom in Alexandria, but also a city under siege. The influx overwhelmed the city. Rampant disease and deprivation took their toll on the freedmen. A cemetery was created for those who had survived slavery, but did not live long in freedom. “The Journey to be Free” shows the legacy of Alexandria’s Contraband community and the amazing story of their burial ground that was lost and rediscovered, now memorialized as the Contraband and Freedmen Cemetery.
 
Medical Care for the Civil War Soldier Exhibit
Fort Ward Museum
Ongoing exhibit
4301 West Braddock Road, Alexandria, VA 22304
703-746-4848
 
Fort Ward Museum has an ongoing exhibit which features original medical instruments and equipment from the Civil War period and information on Union Army hospital sites in Alexandria. 
 
Alexandria’s Nurses & Hospitals During the Civil War
The Lyceum—Alexandria’s History Museum
Opening January 15, 2016
201 S. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-4994
 
The Lyceum mounts an exhibit on the life of Clarissa Jones, a nurse at The Lyceum hospital during the Civil War. It will bring home to visitors the true story of an actual nurse in Alexandria during the war, drawing parallels with characters portrayed in the PBS drama “Mercy Street.” It will include references to the experiences of other Alexandria nurses at that time, such as Anne Reading, who actually worked in the Mansion House hospital, and Jane Woolsey, who served at the Fairfax Seminary hospital.
 

TOURS:

Mercy in Alexandria Walking Tour
Throughout 2016 by Appointment
Public Tour every Sunday at 1:30 p.m., beginning January 17, 2016
Tour starts at Alexandria Visitors Center, 221 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
DC Military Tours
703-407-6663
 
Experience an inside access tour of 19th century Alexandria. Inspired by the PBS mini-series “Mercy Street,” accompany a trained military historian through Civil War era Alexandria and learn the actual history behind the TV show. Get behind the scenes stories of locations where “Mercy Street” characters lived, worked, and played. 
 
Occupied City: Civil War Alexandria Self-Guided Tour
Available starting January 16, 2016
The Lyceum-Alexandria’s History Museum
201 S. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-4994
 
Fans of PBS’ “Mercy Street” drama series will learn about the real history behind the show on this self-guided walking tour, which features significant Civil War Alexandria sites all within walking distance of The Lyceum, which was seized and used as a hospital during the war.  
 
Beyond the Battlefield Walking Tour
Tour Dates: February 13, July 9, September 10, November 12
10 a.m.
Tour starts at The Lyceum: 201 South Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-548-1789
www.leefendallhouse.org
 
Discover the real-life stories and locations of soldiers, citizens, and former slaves that inspired the PBS drama “Mercy Street” in this walking tour of Old Town.  Discover the challenges, triumphs, and controversies of life behind the front lines in an occupied city during the Civil War.  See the locations of hospitals, hotels, prisons, and more that filled Alexandria during four years of conflict.  Tour length is 3 hours and the route is approximately 1.75 miles. Admission $15. Tour starts at The Lyceum, 201 South Washington Street. Parking is not available at The Lyceum’s lot for this program.

Walking Behind the Scenes at Mansion House Hospital
Starting February 6, 2016
Footsteps to the Past and Carlyle House
703-683-3451
www.footstepstothepast.com

This guided citywide tour highlights the history behind Mercy Street, with stops at important Alexandria Civil War sites including Carlyle House and the grounds of the former Mansion House Hospital. Visitors will have exclusive after-hours access through this tour to explore the exhibit featuring period artifacts and the stories of soldiers, nurses, doctors and the prestigious Green family who owned the house and hotel during the Civil War.
 
Medical Heroism in Alexandria: Tour by Land and Water
From April 2016 through Columbus Day; 2nd Saturday and 4th Friday of each month; 2 p.m. start at the Alexandria City Marina
DC Military Tours
703-407-6663
 
Explore the “Mercy Street” story by land and by water on this guided tour of Civil War Alexandria. Accompany a trained military historian from DC Military Tours by boat through Alexandria’s 19th-century seaport and then by land for an inside access look at period sites depicted on “Mercy Street,” including a Civil War hospital and other parts of the city’s Civil War landscape.
 

“The Mercy Walk” Guided Tour
Tour Dates: March 25, 26, 27 & April 1, 2, 3 at 2:30 p.m.
Alexandria Colonial Tours
703-519-1749
www.AlexColonialTours.com

Walk the same streets as the Green family and all of your favorite characters from MERCY STREET. Based on the new PBS series, MERCY STREET, Alexandria’s The Mercy Walk tour will give visitors and locals alike a feel for Alexandria and what it was like to live in an occupied city during the Civil War. This tour includes stops at the former Marshall House, the Confederate Statue, James Green’s furniture factory, and the only portion of the Mansion House Hotel still standing today. Join us to hear the true stories of Alexandria, a true microcosm of the Civil War all within one city. Space is limited!

 
Ivy Hill Cemetery Self-Guided Tour
Starting October 1, 2015
2823 Kings Cloister Circle, Alexandria VA 22302
703-549-7413
 
Ivy Hill Cemetery presents a self-guided tour on the Green family and Frank Stringfellow, who are featured in the PBS drama “Mercy Street”. Chartered in 1856, Ivy Hill Cemetery is the final resting place of the Green family and Frank Stringfellow. Guided tours will be available upon request. Maps for self-guided tours are available at the Ivy Hill Cemetery office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also available for download from Ivy Hill Cemetery’s website.
 
Alexandria Women During the Civil War Tour
Presented by the National Women’s History Museum
June – October, 2016
Schedule TBD
703-461-1920
 
Alexandria was in a unique position during the Civil War. It was a city with Southern sympathies continuously occupied by the Union Army and virtually operating as a Northern supply depot due to its proximity to Washington, DC and its transportation infrastructure. The women who remained in Alexandria and those who came during occupation experienced the War not as a battle but a day-to-day way of life. This tour will explore the stories of a diverse group of women and their experiences living in Civil War Alexandria.
 

EVENTS AND ONE-TIME TOURS:

Mercy Street-Inspired Programs Hosted by the Alexandria Library
Location varies by event
January 16-February 16, 2016
703-746-1702
 
The Alexandria Library’s Special Collections played an integral role in providing research and information to promote historical accuracies in the series. Join us from January 9 through February 16 as the Library celebrates PBS’s recognition of Alexandria’s place in history with a variety of programs that will provide insight regarding life in Alexandria during the Civil War.
 
Civil War Ball
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
January 23, 2016, 8-11 p.m.
$45 in advance, reservations required
134 N Royal St, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-4242
Enjoy an evening from the 1860s in the historic ballroom at the Civil War Ball.  The ball will include live music, dance instruction, and period desserts. Period attire, either civilian or military, is encouraged. The ball is from 8:00 – 11:00pm. $45 in advance, reservations are required. Dance Classes for the Ball will be held January 7, 14, and 21 from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Cost is $12 per class or $30 for the series. 
 
Medical Heroism in Alexandria Lecture by Tom Schultz of DC Military Tours
The Athenaeum
January 25, 2016 at 7 p.m.
201 Prince St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-548-0035
$10 admission
 
During the Civil War, Alexandria became a Union occupied logistics and medical center. The Athenaeum was employed as a Union hospital for a short time and later as the Headquarters of the Union Commissary General.  Alexandria Historian Tom Schultz will discuss the heroism and challenges that doctors and nurses experienced in ministering to the wounded in Alexandria and the advances in women’s rights and medical science as a result of their efforts.
 
Staged Reading of a New Play, Virginian Luxuries by Pamela Leahigh
The Athenaeum
January 28, 2016 at 7 p.m.
201 Prince St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-548-0035
$15 admission
 
One old home in Alexandria houses both the past and the present. Two families, one modern, one living during the Civil War, find that their stories are intertwined. Can the modern family escape the weight of the slavery and the Confederacy?
 
Gray Ghost Wine Dinner
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
January 29, 2016, 7 p.m.
$100 per person inclusive
134 N Royal St, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-4242
Enjoy 19thcentury-inspired food and wine for the modern palate and this Civil War Wine Dinner.  This five-course wine dinner will feature Gray Ghost Vineyards, whose wines are created on lands “Gray Ghost” Confederate John S. Mosby and his men operated upon during the Civil War. Doors open at 7 p.m. Dress: Business Casual.
 
Explore the Real Mansion House
121 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
January 30, 2016, Saturday, at 10 a.m.
$10 Alexandria Historical Society and Friends of Carlyle House Members; $20 all others
 
Go behind the scenes and learn about the true story of the nurses, doctors, soldiers and Alexandrians who star in PBS's new series “Mercy Street.” The program will begin in one of the original lobbies of the famous hospital, normally closed to the public, with coffee, bagels and a presentation led by Sarah Coster, former Director of Carlyle House, and Audrey Davis, historical consultant for “Mercy Street” and Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum. Then, go on a tour of the Carlyle House, the Green family's stately Southern mansion, whose history goes back to the 1740s.
 
We Are Not Butchers: Military Surgeons of the Civil War
Co-sponsored by The Lyceum and Fort Ward Museum
February 3, 2016, 7:30 p.m. at The Lyceum
201 S. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-4994
www.alexandriava.gov/Lyceum
Snow date: February 24
$5 admission

A lecture on medical care during the Civil War period presented by Von Barron, Civil War medical historian and interpreter. Mr. Barron will cover general medical knowledge and practices of the period, and military hospital facilities of the time, both in the field and urban centers like Alexandria. Tickets for the lecture can be purchased by calling The Lyceum at 703-746-4994, or online at shop.alexandriava.gov. 
 
Heroines of Mercy Street:
A Presentation by Historian Pamela D. Toler, PhD.
February 4, 2016, 7 p.m. at The Lyceum
201 S. Washington St., Alexandria VA 22314
703-746-4994
$10 per person
 
“Heroines of Mercy Street,” a new book by historian Pamela Toler, tells the true stories of some of the remarkable women who worked as nurses at the Mansion House Hospital, Alexandria’s largest during the Civil War. Most of these women had little or no experience with nursing, but they wanted to serve their country and do something to help ease the enormous suffering from disease and battlefield wounds during the conflict. They often taught themselves nursing under adverse circumstances, including active hostility from the surgeons they worked with, and helped to create a profession that did not exist before the war.
 
“Heroines of Mercy Street” is a companion history to the new PBS drama “Mercy Street,” which airs at 10 PM beginning on January 17th.  The book will not be available to the public until February 16, 2016, but The Lyceum and other Historic Alexandria museum stores will have it on the shelves after that date.  While you’re here, you can also view the new exhibition “Alexandria’s Nurses & Hospitals During the Civil War” on view by The Lyceum Museum Store, and find many other books related to the war and nurses of the period.
 
Harriet Jacobs and Julia Wilbur: Friends and Allies in Civil War Alexandria
Presented by Paula Whitacre
February 6, 2016, at 11 a.m.
902 Wythe St, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-4356
Co-sponsored by Alexandria Archaeology and the Alexandria Black History Museum
Free
 
Writer, editor, and Civil War researcher Paula Whitacre will deliver a lecture on Harriet Ann Jacobs and Julia Wilbur, two women who lived in Alexandria during the Civil War and wrote about their experiences. Harriet Ann Jacobs was an African-American writer who escaped from slavery and was later freed. She became an abolitionist speaker and reformer. She wrote an autobiographical novel, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.” Julia Wilbur, a relief worker from Rochester, NY, came to Alexandria during the Civil War. She kept a detailed diary from the 1840s through her death in 1895, some of which Paula Whitacre transcribed and annotated.
 
Women of Alexandria, from Antebellum to the 20th Century
The Athenaeum
Part 1: February 8, Part 2: February 22, Part 3: March 7
201 Prince St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-548-0035
Free, donations accepted.
 
Alexandria spent four years as an occupied city. During that time, daily life became quite different for residents who remained in the city, and in many cases, the war changed the course of women’s lives. Women of Alexandria, from Antebellum to the 20th Century will illuminate an important side of the city’s history that we feel has been under-investigated: the effect of the Civil War on the lives of Alexandria’s women. This program generously supported by a grant from Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
 
From Slavery to Freedom Tour
Lee-Fendall House
February 20, 2016
1 p.m.
614 Oronoco St, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-548-1789
$8 admission
 
This special tour interprets the Lee-Fendall House from the perspective of its enslaved inhabitants, exploring the unique experiences of slavery in the city.  Hear the true stories of “contrabands,” as seen in the PBS drama “Mercy Street.” Special behind-the-scenes access is granted to areas not normally open to the public. Admission $8.
 
Speak, Sister: Alexandrian Women’s Songs and Stories of the Civil War
The Athenaeum
March 10, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
201 Prince St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-548-0035
$20 admission
 
Local actors will read from diaries and letters of women who lived in Alexandria during the Civil War, and award-winning bluegrass band Dead Men’s Hollow will play songs of the Civil War.
 
Beyond the Call of Duty: Roles and Responsibilities of Civil War Nurses Lecture
Co-sponsored by Carlyle House and The Lyceum
March 29, 2016 at 7 p.m.
The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St., Alexandria VA 22314
703-549-2997
$10 Reservation required
 
Join Chris Foard MSN, RN (The Foard Collection of Civil War Nursing) for an in depth lecture on the diverse practices of male and female Civil War nurses. Discussion includes an important but largely neglected aspect of Civil War nursing - roles and responsibilities of nurses in relation to current practices of today.
Lecture is based on historical analysis from letters, documents, books and diaries from The Foard Collection of Civil War Nursing. This event is co-sponsored by Carlyle House Historic Park (NOVA Parks) and The Lyceum (Office of Historic Alexandria) and will take place at The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington Street.
Reservations are recommended. To order tickets, visit: https://apm.activecommunities.com/novaparks/Activity_Search/464
 
Civil War Surgeon and Field Hospital Program
Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site
April 23, 2016, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Rain date: April 30
4301 West Braddock Road, Alexandria, VA 22304
703-746-4848
Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site will sponsor a Civil War medical living history program presented by Civil War medical historian and interpreter Von Barron, who  portrays U.S. Army Regimental Surgeon Captain Turner Kitt in a field hospital setting that features a variety of medical tools and equipment of the era. 
 
 
Find Alexandria Experiences inspired by PBS’ MERCY STREET at www.VisitAlexandriaVA.com/mercystreet
 
 
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ABOUT ALEXANDRIA, VA
Within eyesight of Washington, DC on the Potomac River waterfront, Alexandria, Virginia is nationally recognized for its acclaimed, chef-driven restaurants, bustling boutiques and dynamic arts set against a backdrop of 18th- and 19th-century architecture. Old Town Alexandria hums with a cosmopolitan feel and a walkable, dog-friendly lifestyle—a hidden gem tucked beneath the nation’s capital.
 
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