Henry Whitfield State Museum
National Historic Landmark
State Archaeological Preserve
Thirty-two years after the founding of Jamestown
and nineteen years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth
, a group of English Puritans journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean
. Their goal was to establish a community in the New World
free from religious persecution. They were led by their minister, Reverend Henry Whitfield.The Whitfield family home also served as a fort for the community. Its massive stone walls and chimneys, steeply-pitched roof, and casement windows reflect the style of post-medieval domestic architecture found in England – rare in 17th century America and unique today. Through the years, the "Old Stone House" has undergone many changes and many families have called it home. Today, it is Connecticut's oldest house and New England's oldest stone house.
Since 1899, the Henry Whitfield State Museum has been owned and operated by the State of Connecticut. Restored by noted architects Norman Isham and J. Frederick Kelly in the early 1900s, the house is an important example of Colonial Revival restoration work. For over 100 years, visitors from around the world have explored this unique site and learned not only the history of the Henry Whitfield House but the story of the English settlement of Connecticut and the coming together of the European and Native American cultures.
Today, visitors may tour three buildings on the site. At the Visitor Center, you can pick up travel information in the lobby, browse through the gift shop, view changing exhibits in two galleries, or make an appointment to use the research library. In the Whitfield House, you can take a self-guided tour through three floors filled with 17th-19th century furnishings and artifacts. The introductory exhibit, The Old Stone House, details the house's history, and museum staff and volunteers are available to answer questions. Educational game sheets are offered to children (but they're so interesting that many adults take them through the museum as well!). The Education Building offers other hands-on activities and historical exhibits. A stroll around the landscaped grounds, featuring extensive stonewalls, a bronze statue representing Henry Whitfield, and a ship’s cannon from the War of 1812, completes the tour. Please allow approximately one hour for your visit.
Programs and special events are presented monthly, including Connecticut Open House Day in June, Harvesting History on Thanksgiving Weekend, and Firelight Festival on the Friday night one week after Thanksgiving Friday. Schools, camps, scouts, senior centers, and community groups are welcome year round and special programs can be tailored to meet their interests and curriculums.