5 Things to Do in Alexandria After Watching PBS’ ‘Mercy Street’

Mercy Street
Courtesy of Antony Platt/PBS

PBS's new drama "Mercy Street," set in a Civil War-era hospital in Alexandria, is premiering Sunday. Museums and tours throughout Alexandria have special events and exhibits to further explore the area's Civil War history.

Museums

Carlyle House: This historic home shared grounds with the real-life "Mercy Street" hospital but today, it's a museum. Step back in time to see Civil War medical supplies and hospital rooms at a new exhibit, "Who These Wounded Are: The Extraordinary Stories of the Mansion House Hospital."

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Alexandria Black History Museum: Alexandria was one of the first cities on the Union side during the Civil War. The exhibition "The Journey to Be Free" tells the dramatic and tragic story of the freedmen who came to Alexandria. The museum's director, Audrey Davis, is a historical consultant for "Mercy Street."

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum: The apothecary opened in 1792 and operated until 1933. Now it's a museum hosting a collection of medical artifacts from botanical herbs to hand-blown glass equipment, along with archival material from figures like Robert E. Lee and Martha Washington. In honor of the PBS show, the museum will feature special relics purchased by the real-life versions of the characters.

Tours

Mercy in Alexandria Tour: Stops on this tour include the Carlyle House, three other museums and the site of the first Civil War casualties. All tours are conducted by a trained military historian, according to the website. The short version of the tour is tailored for "Mercy Street" fans; the long version dives deeper into the Civil War medical history and includes a boat trip.

Explore the Real Mansion House: The Mansion House is normally closed to the public, but on Jan. 30, the doors will open for a view of the original lobby. The tour begins in the original hospital lobby with coffee, bagels and a presentation co-conducted by "Mercy Street" historical consultant Audrey Davis. It includes a visit to the Carlyle House museum.

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