The Place Where History and Civics Meet

Located in downtown Hartford, Connecticut’s Old State House served as one of Connecticut’s state capitols from 1796 to 1878 and Hartford City Hall from 1878-1915. Beautifully restored and preserved, this museum and civic space was declared one of the first National Historic Landmarks in 1960 and now operates under a public/private partnership between the Connecticut General Assembly and The Connecticut Democracy Center.

Did you know? On this spot in 1780, George Washington and his aides Alexander Hamilton and Marquis de Lafayette met French General Comte de Rochambeau for the first time. Their meeting resulted in a powerful relationship that led to America’s Independence.

Connecticut’s Old State House has something for everyone! We have a mix of historic rooms and modern exhibits. We offer educational programs, tours and exhibits for the general public, and year-round special events that focus on Connecticut history and civics.

We are the home of Connecticut’s Kid Governor®, Connecticut History Day, Conversations at Noon, the historic Farmers Market, summer concert series, and more programs and events.

Connecticut’s Old State House has been central to the state’s history for centuries. It first opened its doors in 1796 on the site where Reverend Thomas Hooker delivered a sermon that inspired the Fundamental Orders, the basis of Connecticut’s first government.

The historic Senate Chamber, restored to its 1818 appearance, was the location of the 1814 Hartford Convention and features an original 1801 Gilbert Stuart painting of George Washington.

Did you know? Connecticut paid $600 for the portrait. The receipt, signed by Stuart and dated 4 April 1801, is in the Connecticut State Archives.

The House of Representatives Chamber, later the Hartford City Council Chamber, is restored to its 1870s appearance. The debates leading up to the Constitution of 1818 were held in this room. The Courtroom was the site of Prudence Crandall’s 1834 trial and the Amistad trials of 1839. Connecticut’s Old State House was also home to the “Hartford Museum” from 1797-1808 where Rev. Joseph Steward maintained a portrait studio and collection of curiosities. The Governor’s Office is now the office of Connecticut’s Kid Governor and Cabinet.