My Experience Preserving History & Working with the Community at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum

If it’s a Sunday afternoon, you’ll most likely find me dressed up in 18th Century clothes complete with a bonnet serving tea to guests in Gadsby’s Tavern restaurant in Old Town Alexandria. Go ahead, you can laugh. I did the first time I was fully dressed in about five layers of rather frumpy looking clothing. Afternoon tea is one of the many events I assist with at Gadsby’s Tavern on behalf of my Historic Alexandria Docents (HAD) Committee.
If you had asked me about this museum and restaurant six months ago, I would have given you a blank stare. But now, I can rattle off historical dates, activities, and key events from the museum and time period no problem. In case you were wondering, Gadsby’s Tavern was built in 1785 and the restaurant and city hotel were built a few years later in 1792.
That is one of the things I love best about the Junior League of Washington. It has exposed me to new women, places, volunteer activities, and culture that I never would have had if I hadn’t been a member.
Gadsby’s Tavern is one of five museums JLW members on the HAD Committee volunteer. It’s a very hands on experience. While it can be a larger time commitment (shadowing tours, memorizing historical data, and learning how to interact with the public on tours), it’s been a very rewarding placement so far.
I love volunteering at Gadsby’s because I’m able to interact with the community and work alongside amazingly friendly staff members who are so dedicated to preserving a wonderful piece of history. I interact with the community on every event whether it’s on a tour, serving afternoon tea, assisting with a birthday party or a museum sponsored ball. It’s a great feeling knowing that by volunteering I’m helping educate the community and preserve such an integral building to Alexandria’s history.
If you’ve never been to Gadsby’s or if you’ve been meaning to check it out, I highly encourage you to drop in this spring and take a tour with us (only about 25 minutes) to experience one of the historical highlights of Alexandria, Virginia. Or if you’d be better suited with afternoon tea, make a reservation for you and your girlfriends. I will warn you though, you could have me as your server.