Information on:

Old State House Museum

300 West Markham

About Us 

The Arkansas Commemorative Commission was created by Act 156 of 1947, which required restoration and management of historic sites and objects for the benefit of the public, and public educational services related to the historic holdings. The Commission restored the Old State House and opened it in 1951 as a museum of Arkansas history. Trapnall Hall was donated to the State in 1974. It is administered as the Governor's Reception Hall and is a rental facility. In 1975, the Arkansas Commemorative Commission became a division of DAH. Act 68 of 2001 changed the name of the Arkansas Commemorative Commission to the Old State House Commission. 

The Old State House is accredited by the American Association of Museums and provides a full complement of educational programs and interpretive exhibits on Arkansas history. Special emphasis is given the period 1836-1911, the historic Old State House and Arkansas state government. Current exhibits include: Arkansas/Arkansaw: A State and its Reputation, Battle Colors of Arkansas featuring the museum’s collection of Civil War battle flags and Pillars of Power that presents the history of the Old State House. The museum has a large collection of artifacts that are representative of the State's history. These objects are periodically displayed through special exhibits and include items such as quilts by Black Arkansans, Arkansas political memorabilia and Civil War battle flags.

The museum offers a variety of programs to accommodate a diverse audience. Opportunities for school groups include on-site tours and programs, outreach programs, and resource materials like publications and loan boxes. The staff works extensively with the DAH Education Coordinator and the Department of Education to develop curriculum guides and resource materials for classroom teachers that correlate to museum exhibits and museum programs. Ongoing youth programs offered throughout the year for children include: toddler programs, Summer Fun enrichment programs that highlight local and state history, and seasonal events like the Victorian Valentine Fair and Holiday Open House. The museum offers numerous programs for adults that reflect both temporary and permanent exhibits, including scholarly seminars, gallery talks, and special events like concerts and book signings.

The Old State House Commission, a statewide board of nine members appointed by the Governor, sets policy for the Old State House, Trapnall Hall, and the preservation restriction program. It determines major goals and objectives for each of its programs, delegates certain functions to the staff through the director of the commission, and considers the addition of new programs and alterations to existing programs under its statutory jurisdiction. The commission considers long-range plans, activities, and budgets. Board members represent all four congressional districts, with three at-large members, and are appointed by the Governor for nine-year terms.


Rob A Baillargeon

Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Nothing like free to make you want to stop by; well, they also have some really nice historical displays. They also rotate around others so you might not see the same thing twice. We got to see dinosaur fossils and a great African quilt display this trip. Which the best one was created and made by a "MAN"!

Chris Reke

Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Very beautiful area downtown to explore especially with free admission (donations happily excepted) and 1 hour parking validation at the Double Tree's garage across from the museum. Not really a hands on top of place but lots of things to see and read about including multiple changing exhibit rooms. Don't stick your head in the cannon (ask the helpful people at the front desk why! It's a good story!)

Dylan Crawford

Thursday, June 7, 2018
You walk in there, you're instantly transported back 150 years. Very old looking and old smelling, but also eloquent and beautiful. Pretty interesting place.

Andy Wesson

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Beautiful building. Donations encouraged, free admission. Good balance of new and old history. Well worth a visit!


Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018
Free entry, but you should leave a donation in the box. Great museum housed in what used to be the old capitol building/governor's mansion. Excellent displays of the history of the building and Arkansas government. Also contains exhibits on natural history, paleontology, cultural artifacts dating to antiquity from many cultures, a big machine gun confiscated from the back of Bonnie & Clyde's car, and a kid friendly selfie booth. There are also displays of ball gowns from former Arkansas first ladies including Hillary Clinton and a room full of memorabilia from each Arkansas governor's election campaign. And, of course, there is a display dedicated to the Clinton presidential campaign. The museum also a railroad room for children and revolving exhibits of state artists/notables. When we went, there was a display of guitars from an Arkansas guitar maker. Highly recommended for a low cost (or free if you're truly strapped) outing with the kids or without. Front yard and fountain is excellent for bridal and other photos.

Old State House Museum is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media