Exploring History at the Old State House Museum

Hey there! Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a part of history? Well, a trip to the Old State House Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas could be just the thing for you. The museum is dedicated to preserving Arkansas’s rich history and offers visitors a chance to explore the state’s political, cultural, and social heritage through exhibits, artifacts, and interactive programs. From the famous Arkansas diamond mines to the state’s important contributions during the Civil War, the Old State House Museum has something for everyone.

The Old State House Museum


The Old State House Museum is a historic building located in Little Rock, Arkansas. Constructed in 1836, the building has served many roles throughout its history, from the state capitol to a museum showcasing Arkansas’ rich and diverse past. Today, the Old State House Museum stands as a monument to the state’s history and culture.

History of the Old State House

Originally built as Arkansas’ second state capitol building, the Old State House has a rich history dating back to the mid-19th century. Designed by noted architect Gideon Shryock, the building was completed in 1836 and quickly became the center of political activity in Arkansas.

Over time, the building underwent a series of renovations and changes to its layout and decor. In 1885, after the construction of a new capitol building, the Old State House was repurposed as offices for state agencies and a museum of Arkansas history. Despite its changing roles, the Old State House remained an iconic symbol of Arkansas’ political and cultural identity.

Throughout its history, the Old State House hosted many important events, including the American Civil War and the Civil Rights movement. It served as the site of Governor Orval Faubus’ famous 1957 speech, in which he defended his decision to prevent the integration of Little Rock Central High School.

Exhibits at the Old State House Museum

The Old State House Museum is home to a variety of exhibits showcasing the state’s rich history. Permanent exhibits include “First Ladies of Arkansas: Women of their Times,” which explores the lives of the Arkansas governors’ wives, and “Arkansas’ First People,” which highlights the state’s native history.

In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Old State House Museum also hosts a rotating series of temporary exhibits. Recent examples have included displays on Arkansas’ involvement in World War I and the history of African Americans in the state.

Each exhibit is carefully curated to provide a unique perspective on Arkansas’ past, and highlights the significant impact of the state on the nation’s history. The museum’s exhibits showcase everything from the development of the state’s economy to important social and cultural movements.


The Old State House Museum stands as a testament to Arkansas’ rich history and cultural heritage. Through its exhibits and programming, visitors are given a unique insight into the state’s past and its contributions to the nation. Whether a history buff or simply curious about the state’s past, a visit to the museum is sure to be a memorable experience.

Visiting the Old State House Museum

The Old State House Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas is a true gem among the city’s attractions. It is a historical building that played a key role in shaping the state’s history. The museum is a must-visit destination for people of all ages who are interested in Arkansas’s politics and culture.

Location and Hours

The Old State House Museum is located at 300 W Markham St, Little Rock, AR 72201. It is situated in the heart of downtown Little Rock, which makes it easily accessible to visitors. Parking is available at several nearby parking garages for a reasonable fee.

The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and on Sundays from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The museum is closed on major holidays such as Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission to the museum is free, but donations are always appreciated.


The Old State House Museum offers several amenities and services to make visitors comfortable and enhance their experience. There are several restrooms scattered throughout the building, and all of them are clean and well-maintained. The museum is also fully accessible to people with disabilities, and there are wheelchair ramps and elevators to ensure that everyone can enjoy the exhibits.

Guided tours are available daily, and they are led by knowledgeable and friendly staff members who are passionate about Arkansas history. The tours provide insightful information about the exhibits, and visitors can ask questions to learn even more. Visitors are also allowed to take photos and videos for personal use, but flash photography and tripods are not permitted.

Tips for Visitors

If you want to make the most out of your visit to the Old State House Museum, here are some tips to consider:

  • Start your visit at the Visitor Center to get a map of the museum and hear a brief orientation.
  • Take a guided tour to learn more about the exhibits and the history of Arkansas.
  • Don’t miss the “First Ladies of Arkansas” exhibit, which showcases the lives and contributions of Arkansas’s first ladies.
  • Explore the exhibits at your own pace and take some time to read the informative plaques for context.
  • Before you leave, make sure to stop by the museum store and check out the selection of souvenirs, books, and gifts.

If you’re planning a trip to Little Rock, Arkansas, make sure to add the Old State House Museum to your itinerary. Little Rock is a vibrant city that offers a lot to visitors. Make sure to explore the downtown area, where you’ll find amazing restaurants, bars, and shops. Other attractions worth visiting in Little Rock include the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, the Arkansas River Trail, and the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site.

Plan your trip in advance and make hotel reservations early, especially if you’re visiting during peak tourist season. Little Rock has a lot to offer, and it’s a fantastic destination for anyone interested in history, culture, and good food.

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