Connecticut: The Constitution State
Several locations in Hartford represent the concept of freedom so cherished in the American mind. We encourage you to visit these sites with your family or join a tour arranged through The American Place Citizenship Education project.
State Capitol Tours
The Connecticut State Capitol first opened for the General Assembly in January, 1879. It is constructed of New England marble and granite and crowned by a gold leaf dome. In addition to housing the State Senate Chamber, Hall of the State House of Representatives and offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Secretary of the State, the statehouse and surrounding grounds abound with memories and mementos of Connecticut's early years.
Connecticut’s Old State House
Built in 1796, the Old State House is the oldest state house in the nation. The building opened in May 1796. Oliver Wolcott, signer of the Declaration of Independence was the first Governor to serve here. Major state and national events have, and continue to occur at the Old State House. Lafayette was made a citizen here. The Old State House is a registered National Landmark and open to the public year-round, free of charge.
The Connecticut Freedom Trail
In recognizing the importance to Connecticut of numerous sites in the state that are associated with the heritage and movement towards freedom of its African American citizens, the Connecticut General Assembly in 1995 authorized that these locations be developed into a Freedom Trail. Click here for a list of Hartford locations on the trail. Included on the trail are several locations in Hartford.
Hartford History Center
The Hartford History Center is home to the Hartford Collection, a non-circulating, multi-media collection comprised of more than 50,000 books, trade publications, directories, postcards, photographs and memorabilia that convey community life in Hartford spanning nearly 300 years. Officially named in 1945, the archives and special collections of Hartford Public Library date back to the 18th century, to the library’s own beginning.
The Harriet Beecher Stowe House
Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, is considered an important historical figure of American literature as well as social activism and culture. Stowe's presence in 19th-century Hartford has encouraged others to live in what was, during that time, the nation's preeminent literary community. A visit to the Stowe House includes a tour of her Victorian-style home and gardens as well as the Katharine Seymour Day House.
The Mark Twain House & Museum
The Mark Twain House, a National Historic Landmark, located on Farmington Avenue in the west end of Hartford, was the home of America's most famous author, Samuel Clemens (also known as Mark Twain.) It was here where he wrote many of his most notable works, including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
The Wadsworth Atheneum
Established in 1842 by Daniel Wadsworth, Hartford's Wadsworth Atheneum is the oldest public art museum in the United States. Here, visitors will find an impressive display of American and French impressionist art as well as extensive collection modernist and contemporary works. Some other noteworthy collections include the Hudson River School landscapes, the Wallace Nutting collection of American colonial furniture, and the Samuel Colt firearms display. Note: With your library card you can borrow a pass to visit the Wadsworth Athenium. The ARTpass is good for two adults and two children (6- 17.) ARTpass offers free general museum admission for up to two adults and two children (ages 6–17) ARTpass offers free general museum admission for up to two adults and two children (ages 6–17) . . ARTpass offers free general museum admission for up to two adults and two children (ages 6–17) ARTpass offers free general museum admission for up to two adults and two children (ages 6–17)