Old State House

Old State House

These walls witnessed the birth of a revolution. Erected in 1713, Old State House stands in the heart of Boston, a testament to the forces that forged this country. Just outside its door, Crispus Attucks and four others fell in an event that became known as the Boston Massacre, the first casualties in the war for independence. Long before then, Massachusetts colonists had deliberated policy and protested the heavy hand of the king within its walls. In 1767, galleries were added to Representative Hall, the first example of opening the political process to the public. From those galleries, one could hear Sam Adams, John Hancock, and others speak the words that raged against tyranny and stirred the colonists to throw off their shackles.

When the Declaration of Independence arrived in Massachusetts in 1776, it was read to the public from the Old State House balcony. Two hundred years later, Queen Elizabeth II addressed Bostonians from that same balcony as part of the nation's bicentennial celebrations.

Easily accessible along the Freedom trail, the Old State House is located at the corner of Washington and State Streets in downtown Boston. A fixture in Boston political and economic life for over 150 years, the building now houses the Old State House Museum. Exhibits include a multimedia presentation that recreates the fateful night when the stakes were raised at the Boston Massacre. Another popular interactive attraction, Hands On History, explores the original building and the changes that have been made through the years. Nearly lost to commercial interests, this landmark has survived. Other exhibits define Boston's role in American history and the revolution. Displays include period artwork and artifacts from the Bostonian Society collections.

The Old State House Museum offers a portrait of Boston through the years, in the building that has witnessed fires and firebrands, revolution and restoration in the centuries that have past. Three centuries have passed since early Bostonians first set out to build a permanent brick structure for the provincial government. In a modern world where we are asked to embrace new technologies and social mores each year, the Old State House beckons us to remember a time when change came more slowly and deliberate.