Alexandria’s New 2017 Tours, Exhibits and Events Bring PBS’ Original Drama MERCY STREET to Life January 5, 2017

CONTACTS:
Claire Mouledoux: CMouledoux@VisitAlexVA.com or 703-652-5367
Leah Spellman, APR: LSpellman@VisitAlexVA.com or 703-652-5363
Lara Davidson: LKDavidson@pbs.org or 703-739-5115
Liz Sharkey, Alex Stromer, Karen Tzeiler, Jordan Lawrence: MercyStreet@DKCNews.com or 212-685-4300


Alexandria, VA’s New 2017 Tours, Exhibits and Events
Bring PBS’ Original Drama MERCY STREET
to Life for Second Season

City that Inspired PBS Series Announces 40 New Visitor Experiences
 

Alexandria, VA—As fans of the PBS Civil War-era drama MERCY STREET anticipate the show’s return for a second season on January 22, 2017, at 8:00 p.m. ET, historic Alexandria, Virginia announces 40 new tours, exhibits and events inspired by the series. 

MERCY STREET, PBS’ first original American drama in a decade, is inspired by real events of Civil War Alexandria. Alexandria celebrates the national spotlight on its history by presenting more than 50 visitor experiences for MERCY STREET fans, including 40 new offerings. Fans are invited to visit the city’s historic sites to enjoy new exhibits and events inspired by the series, with several that focus on Civil War-era cultural customs including food, fashion and music. Uncover the real people behind the characters on the show, the realities of Civil War medicine, the changing roles for women, and the breakthrough experience of enslaved African-Americans claiming their freedom.

HIGHLIGHTS OF NEW 2017 VISITOR EXPERIENCES:

  • Carlyle House events including “Love and Romance Between the Lines” open house event (Feb. 11) with historic chocolate treats and reenactors playing real-life love birds Frank Stringfellow and Emma Green, and “Espionage Tea” (June 25) challenging guests to see if they are as clever as Frank Stringfellow.
  • Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum’s “Apothecary of Mercy Specialty Tour” (starts Jan. 8) and “This Terrible Disease” exhibit (opens Jan. 13) featuring prescriptions and remedies sold to the Union Commissary Department and to the contraband population and civilian residents in Alexandria during the Civil War.

  • Civil War-inspired food events including “Civil War Wine Dinner with Gray Ghost Winery” (Jan. 26) and “Heflebower’s Cobblers and Cocktails” (Feb. 3), both at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, and lectures at the Lyceum including programs with the authors of “Food in the Civil War Era” (Jan. 12) and “Starving the South” (Feb. 23).

  • “Mercy Me! Get into Character” Costume Station (Jan. 22-Dec. 31), at the Alexandria Visitor Center and select MERCY STREET-inspired events, offering fans the chance to try on a recreation of a Civil War-era dress or surgeon’s coat with an invitation to share their photo on social media with hashtag #MercyStreetPBS.

  • New ways to explore the African-American experience including “Freedom’s Fight in Alexandria Walking Tour” (starts Feb. 11) by Manumission Tour Company and Alexandria Black History Museum events including “Sweet as Sin” lecture and candy tasting (Feb. 18), “Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs: Black Women Food and Power” lecture and book signing (March 25) and the art exhibit “Before the Spirits are Swept Away: African American Historic Site Paintings by Sherry Z. Sanabria” (continues through May 2017).

  • Lee-Fendall House events including two special tours of the museum, “This Tide of the Wounded” and “From Slavery to Freedom” (Jan. 21, Feb. 4 and Feb 18), and the lecture “James Green and Thomas Day: Furniture, Family, and Race in 19th Century Virginia” (March  18).

  • Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site’s “U.S. Colored Troops Living History Encampment” (Apr. 8) portraying the history, training and solider life of African-American units associated with the Civil War defenses of Washington and “Fort Ward Tour and Civil War Concert” (May 20) with a solider-led tour of Fort Ward and period music by the Federal City Brass Band.

Ten visitor experiences are returning for a second year, including the top-visited MERCY STREET-inspired exhibit, “Who These Wounded Are: The Extraordinary Stories of the Mansion House Hospital” at Carlyle House, once the Green family home adjacent to the Mansion House hospital, featuring an interpretation of period hospital rooms and doctor/officer housing, plus stories of nurse Mary Phinney and spy Frank Stringfellow.

MERCY STREET season one took place in the spring of 1862 just outside of Washington, D.C. in Alexandria, a border town between North and South and the longest Union-occupied city of the war.  Ruled under martial law, Alexandria was the central melting pot of the region, filled with civilians, female volunteers, doctors, wounded soldiers from both sides, free blacks, enslaved and contraband (escaped enslaved people living behind Union lines) African-Americans, speculators and spies. MERCY STREET follows the lives of all of these characters, who collide at Mansion House, the Green family’s luxury hotel, which has been taken over and transformed into a Union Army hospital.

MERCY STREET season two picks up directly from the dramatic events at the end of the season one finale, continuing to explore the growing chaos within Alexandria, the complicated interpersonal dynamics of Dr. Foster, Nurse Mary and the Mansion House staff, the increasingly precarious position of the Green family and the changing world of the burgeoning African-American population. The season will introduce a number of new elements, taking viewers closer to the fight and into the halls of Confederate power, all set against the intensifying war, starting with the Seven Days’ Battle and culminating with Antietam.

Located on the Potomac River waterfront just minutes from Washington, 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-inspired excursion into a weekend getaway.

Find Alexandria experiences inspired by PBS’ MERCY STREET at www.VisitAlexandriaVA.com/mercystreet.

Explore the PBS series and view season two trailers at
www.pbs.org/mercy-street or visit the PBS press room at pbs.org/pressroom.

ABOUT PBS
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ABOUT ALEXANDRIA, VA
Named a Top Romantic City, a Top Dog Friendly City, and with a dramatic history featured on the PBS series MERCY STREET, Alexandria is a nationally renowned waterfront destination just five miles from Washington, D.C. Old Town Alexandria is the Shop Small headquarters of the region, with dozens of independently owned boutiques and restaurants tucked in to 18th- and 19th-century architecture still intact from the city’s days as George Washington’s hometown. New restaurants ignite historic and off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods as the waterfront district evolves with new energy. Alexandria hums with a cosmopolitan feel and a walkable lifestyle—a welcoming weekend escape next to our nation’s capital.

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