Historic Tours & Programs


Tours and Educational Programs

Private guided tours for adult groups and educational programs for students or scouts are available for a fee. All tours are tailored for group needs, educational standards, and interests. Tours require advanced reservations. To arrange educational programs or tours of city-owned historic buildings email Susan.gray@fairfaxva.gov or call 703-385-8415.


A Docent from Historic Fairfax City, Inc. will lead walking the final walking tour of Old Town Fairfax of the season on Saturday, October 1.

The tour lasting approximately 90 minutes will begin at 10 a.m. in front of the Historic Fairfax County Courthouse, corner of Chain Bridge Road and Main Street, and include a short tour of the Ratcliffe-Allison House, 10386 Main Street. 

Cost:  $10/adults; $5/youth, ages 6-12, children 6 and under are free. Family rate (three or more) $25. For reservations, call: Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center at 703-385-8414.

All proceeds benefit the preservation of the City of Fairfax’s public historic properties.

Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center "Second Sunday" Program

Programs are held at 2 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month. Unless otherwise noted, programs are held at the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, 10209 Main Street. Free (unless noted). Check back to find out about additional programs planned throughout the year. Information: 703-385-8414.


Sunday, October 9 – Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center

“The Mystery of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Postage Stamp Quilt”--Kyra E. Hicks, author and historian of African-American quilting traditions, will tell the story of Indiana quilter Estella Weaver Nuke and her gift to President Roosevelt.

 Sunday, November 13 – Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center

“Discovering Colchester’s History”--Christopher Sperling, Senior Archaeologist with Fairfax County Park Authority, will share discoveries from his work at Colchester, a bustling port on the Occoquan River in 1700s. 

 Sunday, December 11—Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center

“American Holiday Postcards, 1905-1915:  Imagery and Context

Book talk and signing with Daniel Gifford from George Mason University, who will discuss the uses and meanings of holiday cards in the early twentieth century. 


Sunday, January 8, 2 p.m. – Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center

Educating Freedmen in Fairfax County During Reconstruction

Debbie Robison, historian and member of the Fairfax County History Commission, will share her research on the 15 schools established from 1864-68 for African American students.   Also, historian and author Page Johnson will share his findings on the Society of Friends school at Fairfax Court House and the teacher’s marriage to a Fairfax native. 

Sunday, February 12, 2 p.m. –Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center

“African American Schools and Desegregation”

Sunday, March 12, 2p.m. – Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center

“The Fairfax Ladies Memorial Association and the Fairfax City Cemetery”
Curator Susan Inskeep Gray will discuss the role of Fairfax women to reinter Confederate war dead and the cemetery’s transition to a community burial place 


Civil War Interpretive Center at Historic Blenheim

Information: 703-591-0560.  Historic Blenheim Civil War Interpretive Center Program Series Programs are free and held at 2 p.m. on Saturdays (unless otherwise noted) at the Civil War Interpretive Center at Historic Blenheim, 3610 Old Lee Highway.  For home page please click here.


  Saturday, October 22, 2 p.m.  -- Historic Blenheim –

"Gallant Knights & Fair Maidens: Ring Tournaments in Fairfax County" Historian Jeanne Niccolls will present her research on jousting tournaments, a dominant form of chivalric entertainment, in the antebellum and post-Civil War periods. 

Saturday, November 19, 2 p.m.—Historic Blenheim

"Clashing Dynasties: Charles Francis Adams and James Murray Mason in the Fiery Cauldron of Civil War"-- Book talk and signing by Gerard Gawalt.  “Clashing Dynasties” is the epic story of two grandson of two founders of the American Republic who followed two very different roads in life to arrive at the same critical crossroad of the Civil War.

 Sunday, December 4, 2016,  Noon-4p.m. SPECIAL DATE and TIME

"Christmas in Camp"--Holiday customs, Victorian crafts, music, and camp drills with Company D, 17th Virginia Infantry, “Fairfax Rifles,” C.S.A.   Scout/Group reservations, call 703-591-6728.


Saturday, January 28, 2 p.m. – Historic Blenheim

“The CSS Shenandoah and the Last Shot of the Civil War” – Local author William Connery will tell the story of the Confederate Navy’s last ship, the CSS Shenandoah.

Saturday, February 25, 2 p.m. – Historic Blenheim

“A Slave No More:  Lewis Lee of Fairfax Court House” – Retired educator Wes Boutchard will unfold the incredible story of a mulatto slave related to Blenheim’s Willcoxon family, his escape from slavery and the choices he made as a free man.

Saturday, March 25, 2p.m. - Historic Blenheim 

“Harriet Tubman:  Move or Die"-- Actress Gwendolyn Briley-Strand will perform a presentation as Ms. Tubman followed, by a question and answer session.  Ms. Strand will display an exhibit, "The Portals Through Time," about Miss Tubman on the Eastern shore, in Auburn, New York and the people with whom she interacted.

Saturday, April 29, 10a.m.-5p.m.-Historic Blenheim

17th annual Fairfax Civil War Day --Living history programs, infantry and cannon firings, scholarly talks, military drills, historic house tours, Civil War music, wagon rides, youth activities, barbecue and more! Admission: $5/adults; $3/youth, 12 and under. For program updates: Click here.

Saturday, May 20, 2 p.m. - Historic Blenheim

Loudoun Boundary Line and Stuart's Significant Achievement”-- Local historians Jim Lewis and Chuck Mauro will discuss the creation of the Loudoun County/Fairfax County line and will then chronicle J.E.B. Stuart's onerous journey through our area on June 27, 1863, impacting his arrival time at Gettysburg. 

Saturday, June 24, 2p.m. - Historic Blenheim

“Chronology of the Civil War in Fairfax County, Part I”- Preservationist, historian, and author Edward T. Wenzel will discuss notable incidents from the first two years of war in Fairfax County that have been included in his day-by-day Civil War chronology. This impressive volume of 618 pages includes 50 maps and more than 350 photos, while his separate index is 200 pages long. Both will be available for sale and signing.


Other Information of Interest

Volunteers and docents are sought for the city's historic buildings: Ratcliffe-Allison House, Historic Blenheim and the Civil War Interpretive Center and Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center. Additionally, volunteers may be interested in assisting with walking tours and special events. For information email Susan.Gray@fairfaxva.gov, or call 703-385-8415.

The city has published a free self-guided walking tour brochure that provides a brief history of the city and noteworthy buildings in the Old Town Fairfax Historic District. This brochure is available from the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, 10209 Main Street, or call 703-385-8414.

Select historic buildings are open during city special events, including the Chocolate Lovers Festival, Civil War Weekend, Independence Day Celebration, Fall Festival and Festival of Lights and Carols. To arrange group tours of city-owned historic buildings email Susan.Gray@fairfaxva.gov or call 703-385-8414.