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Old State House, Boston

4.4
The Old State House is a historic building in Boston, Massachusetts, at the intersection of Washington and State Streets. Built in 1713, it was the seat of the Massachusetts General Court until 1798, and is one of the oldest public buildings in the United States. One of the landmarks on Boston's Freedom Trail, it is the oldest surviving public building in Boston, and now serves as a history museum operated by the Bostonian Society. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and a Boston Landmark by the Boston Landmarks Commission in 1994.HistoryThe Massachusetts Town House: seat of colony government 1713–1776Today's brick Old State House was built in 1712–13, possibly designed by Robert Twelves; the previous building, the wooden Town House of 1657, had burned in the fire of 1711. A notable feature was the pair of seven-foot tall wooden figures depicting a lion and unicorn, symbols of the British monarchy.The building housed a Merchant's Exchange on the first floor and warehouses in the basement. On the second floor, the east side contained the Council Chamber of the Royal Governor while the west end of the second floor contained chambers for the Courts of Suffolk County and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The central portion contained the chambers for the elected Massachusetts Assembly. This chamber is notable for including public galleries, the first known example of such a feature being included in a chamber for elected officials in the English-speaking world.
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Old State House Reviews
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  • In the middle of a forest of skyscrapers lies this splendid structure which is the oldest well preserved city worth visiting
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  • The old state house is a Pearl of American architecture and a place full of stories and adventures of the time of the war of American independence. A must to visit.
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  • Take about an hour or so to stop in here and tour the artifacts of the Revolutionary War era. There are replicas as well as real artifacts, including tea from the Boston Tea Party. The women working i...  more »
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  • The Old State House (US$10 per adult) is one of the important stops on the Freedom Trail in Boston. Here you will find a very good American Revolutionary Museum which spells on in good detail the events leaving up to the American Revolution, including the infamous Boston Massacre which happened just outside this building. Opening Hours are 9-5pm daily. The Old State House was built in 1713, making it one of the oldest standing and functioning buildings in the United States. This was original seat of power colony of New England's, a national landmark and another nice example of Georgian period architecture that you can see in this area of Boston. Within the Old State House, you will find a gift shop with a large collection of Freedom Trail souvenirs, similar to what you will see at the Faneuil Market. You then visit the rooms which house the American Revolutionary Museum collection. The museum collection is a comprehensive set of displays which detail events as they occurred and led to the American Revolution from the British Crown. There are historical items, paintings and furniture on show as well, helping bring the information to life. You can browse the displays that are of interest and see all in 20-30 minutes or give more attention to them and easily find yourself here for an hour or more. We found the upstairs rooms, decorated with period furnishings to be particularly interesting. There are a couple of rooms with interactive and hands-on experiences which children will enjoy more than the traditional museum inclusions at the Old State House. Note: There are free tours of this historic building every 30 minutes starting on the ground floor. Attending one of these might be a good way to experience the Old State House if you don't fancy an independent visit as much. In the end, we felt the $10 entry fee was steep for this attraction but having saved a bit by purchasing the Freedom Trail combo ticket (see below), we didn't mind. The museum collection helps visitors build up an understanding of New England during the American Revolutionary period, something that is important when it comes to getting the most of your visit to the Freedom Trail attractions. Note: At the Old State House, you can buy a combo ticket ($16 per adult) that includes entrance into the Old South Meeting Hall and the Paul Revere House, giving you a $3 savings compared to buying each ticket individually.
  • one of the oldest public buildings in the United States... One of the landmarks on Boston's Freedom Trail, it is the oldest surviving public building in Boston, and now serves as a history museum operated by the Bostonian Society. Small, and cramped, but I guess that's what it used to be like, so I can’t really blame the structure since it was made years back by ancestors. Lots of history and its part of the freedom trail which is good. The building has been nicely restored and inside it's furnished in the way it would have looked in the early days of Boston. The museum exhibits were well-organized and there were many interesting historical artifacts on display. The short-guided tour was educational and worth the time. You don't need to spend a lot of time at the Old State House, 20 or 30 minutes is more than enough time, so stop by and take in some history. The Boston Massacre spot is just near to it, was an incident in which British Army soldiers shot and killed five people while under attack by a mob. Heard every 4th of July they read the declaration of independence here.
  • The Old State House was am interesting stop along the Freedom trail. It's full of information about the beginnings of U.S. government. It's definitely more geared toward teens and adults but it was nice that they included some hands on exhibits for the little ones, such as a brick laying exhibit with sponge blocks to play with. I was surprised that kids under 18 are admitted for free!
  • What an interesting place. Our tour guide was very engaging and knowledgeable. I wish the tour was bigger but I understand the physical constraints of the space. Overall, if you’re going to see one historic place along the freedom trail, I’d say this is your best bet.
  • Had a great time visiting here. Lots of exhibits about the history of Boston and the state house itself. I never knew about all the transitions this building went through. Tour guides we're great and the short play about Hancock and his wife was fantastic.
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4 days in Boston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, culture, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, culture, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Boston BY A USER FROM CANADA November, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 21 days in Boston, New York City & Philadelphia BY A USER FROM GERMANY April, culture, relaxing, romantic, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, relaxing, romantic, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in Boston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, teens, historic sites, popular sights PREFERENCES: November, teens, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 29 days in Boston BY A USER FROM PORTUGAL December, culture, museums, shopping, popular sights PREFERENCES: December, culture, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 14 days in East Coast of USA & Philadelphia BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 59 days in Massachusetts BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, teens, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: February, teens, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 10 days in Boston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, culture, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, culture, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 21 days in United States & Toronto BY A USER FROM ARGENTINA February, kids, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 4 days in Boston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, culture, historic sites, museums, popular sights PREFERENCES: March, culture, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 56 days in Boston BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM January, popular sights PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 21 days in United States BY A USER FROM HONG KONG December, culture, relaxing, romantic, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, culture, relaxing, romantic, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
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