The Old State House is the original state capitol of Arkansas which became the 25th state in 1836. In 1861, shortly after the start of the Civil War, convention delegates voted to join the Confederacy. The Union Army captured Little Rock in 1863 and used the building for a military headquarters. It was returned to Arkansas in 1868 after the state was restored to the Union. By 1911 a new larger building was required and various uses were found for the old capitol including a medical school and headquarters for the state police. It finally became a museum in 1947.
The permanent exhibits cover all of the governors and their families. First Lady’s gowns are on display, a couple of rooms have been decorated with period furnishings and some of the state chambers have been restored as they appeared in the mid 1800. A temporary exhibit "Cabinet of Curiosities” features an eclectic assortment of artifacts from the University of Arkansas Museum which closed to the public in 2003.
An elevator and two lifts provide access to all levels of the museum.