Preserving Alexandria's 18th-Century Ships - Atlas Obscura

Alexandria, Virginia

Preserving Alexandria's 18th-Century Ships

Help the Alexandria Archaeology Museum document, preserve, and save recently-discovered, centuries-old ships from being lost to time.

This spring, three huge, 18th-century wooden ships were discovered amongst the muck of Alexandria' shoreline. Recently coined “one of the most archaeologically significant sites in Virginia" by the city's top archaeologist, the race is on to document and preserve these historically important vessels. 

On September 15th, join forces with the Alexandria Archaeology Museum to help record, document, and save these ships from being lost to time. 

During this exclusive behind-the-scenes event, we will get a first-hand look at these 18th-century ships that were, until recently, buried beneath our feet. We will hear from the archaeologists who are studying them and are doing everything in their power to preserve them for future generations. This means, for now, storing the fragile timbers in giant pools and tanks of water to protect the wood from exposure to air. Then, we will assist the scientists in taking measurements of some of the timbers and recording observations. Spend the morning as a real-life archaeologist! 


  • Due to safety reasons, this event is only open to those who are 12 years old and older and are accompanied by an adult.
  • The storage facility where we will meet is at 116 South Quaker Lane. The building is unairconditioned, so please dress appropriately for the weather and bring water.
  • There is a bathroom on-site, but it's not glamorous. Please consider accordingly. 
  • All attendees must wear closed-toed shoes for safety reasons. 
  • This event is somewhat accessible via public transportation. It's about a 3o-minute walk from the King Street Metro stop on the yellow and blue lines. There's a DASH bus (AT8) that runs about every 15 minutes from King Street Metro that lets off at Duke Street & Alexandria Commons, which is about a five-minute walk to our meeting location. 
  • If you are choosing to drive, there's limited street parking on Quaker Lane. 


Contact Matt Blitz at

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Advance tickets only. All sales final. No refunds or exchanges.