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Old State Capitol Experience

Learn about Kentucky's Historic Capitol Building

Delve into the politics and everyday life of the tumultuous 19th-century by touring this National Historic Landmark that served as Kentucky’s capitol.

The Old State Capitol building (1830-1910) was the setting for lively political debates as lawmakers grappled with such issues of the day as slavery and war. Today it is restored to the way it looked in the early 1850s and contains pieces original to that time. A young Gideon Shryock, the state’s first native-born professionally trained architect, designed this Greek Revival building. It is the third one to have served as Kentucky’s seat of government.

Tour the Old State Capitol and:

  • Stand on the spot where Henry Clay and other legendary lawmakers rallied their colleagues.

  • Learn about the intrigue and violence surrounding the 1900 gubernatorial election.

  • Marvel at the curved, self-supporting stone stairway and other architectural features of this Kentucky limestone building.

Guided Tours

Guided by museum staff, visitors will explore the Old State Capitol building’s unique architectural features and works of art. We’ll also delve into the politics and personalities of 19th and early 20th century Kentuckians, getting to know the leaders who walked these halls and discussing some of the major issues they debated, such as slavery, response to the Civil War, women’s rights, and civil rights. This tour convenes at the front desk of the Thomas D. Clark Center for History Tuesday - Saturday at 2:00 pm. Duration: 30 minutes.

Old State Capitol Self-Guided Tour with Audio

Want to see it from home? Watch a tour of the Old State Capitol from our Virtual Visitor page!

A Museums to Go traveling panel exhibit is currently on display in the Old State Capitol. Learn more about bringing Museums to Go to your organization! 

Hours of Operation: Tues – Sat: 10 am – 5 pm. Tickets must be purchased online or at the Kentucky History Center. Click here for pricing and details.