This museum is designated as a National Historic Landmark, and is recognized by many throughout the United States as the location of President Clinton's election night celebrations. The structure is in Greek Revival style and overlooks the Arkansas River. There are numerous volumes of Arkansas State history books on site. There are also a number of collections that are permanent exhibits at the museum including On the Stump: Arkansas Political History from 1819 - 1919 and A Circus Hitched to a Tornado: Arkansas Politics in the 20th Century. The inaugural gowns of Arkansas first ladies are on display, and there are a variety of rooms decorated in period style interiors. The museum also has in its possession Civil War battle flags, artifacts from Arkansas musical history, and a collection of African-American quilts.
The museum hosts a variety of activities throughout the year, most of which are family friendly. There is a museum store on site that offers books, collectibles, and souvenirs for visitors to the museum. You can also read the biographies of Arkansas governors, search the Arkansas news archives, or visit Trapnell Hall. This is a restored antebellum home that is a popular rental venue for a variety of personal and professional events. Admission to the museum is free and they are open Monday through Saturday from 9 am until 5 pm, and Sundays from 1 pm until 5 pm. There is plenty of parking available on weekends. During the weekdays it may be tougher to find a space, but the museum is surrounded by hour and half hour spaces. Parking can be validated for an hour at the nearby DoubleTree Hotel. You can also ride the downtown trolley to the museum which drops riders off right across the street.
One of the popular permanent exhibits at the museum is the "As Long as Life Shall Last: The Legacy of Arkansas Women.'' This collection includes a variety of educational items that offer a peek into the lives of Arkansas women throughout history. The exhibits features diaries, journals, letters from high society women, as well as those struggling with the frontier lifestyle. There are pens on display as well from a variety of famous female writers and politicians from the state. Among the artifacts are song, art, and storytelling pieces, all of which illustrate the diverse roles women played throughout history. From all walks of life and periods of history, the exhibit looks at the causes women have supported and the challenges they have endured throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Among material included in the exhibit is a study of the work of one of Arkansas' first female physicians, Dr. Ida Brooks. During the time the State House served as the University of Arkansas Medical School, Dr. Brooks taught here.
Regardless of your interest in Arkansas history, the Old State House is a great destination for an afternoon tour or a field trip for school children. The museum offers a unique look into the history of the state. Plan a trip to this museum to learn about frontier history and the role Arkansas has played in history.