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Henry Whitfield State Museum, Guilford

Overview

*** PLEASE NOTE: To support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, the museum is closed until further notice. We hope to re-open for our regular seasonal hours (May-October) and will keep you informed as plans evolve. ***

Explore four centuries of Connecticut history through the evolution of the Henry Whitfield House. Reverend Henry Whitfield and his family were part of the group of English Puritans who founded Guilford in 1639 for religious freedom. Built of local granite and restored in the 1930s, the Whitfield House is now Connecticut’s oldest house, New England’s oldest stone house, and a National Historic Landmark.


Historical Significance

Construction of the Whitfield House began in 1639 — the same year the Taj Mahal was being built, three years before Isaac Newton was born, and 135 years before the American Revolution. Through the years, the "Old Stone House" has undergone many changes, and many families have called it home. Since 1900, it has been owned and operated by the State of Connecticut as a public museum. 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. The site is a State Archaeological Preserve.

 

The Whitfield House stands not only as a tangible link to Guilford’s Colonial English origins, but as a testament to the generations that followed and to those who preserved this piece of America’s history.

 

You can explore these features on the site:

  • Whitfield House — Take a self-guided tour through three floors filled with furnishings and artifacts, tour the introductory exhibit The Old Stone House detailing the house’s history, and test your observational skills with an educational scavenger hunt.
  • Visitor Center:
      • Gift Shop – Browse a wide selection of gifts and souvenirs, including historical reproductions, toys and games, and books for adults and children.
      • Tourism Information Center – Pick up brochures and maps, learn about upcoming local events, and get answers to your travel questions about Guilford and throughout Connecticut.
      • Exhibit Galleries – Explore history exhibits and hands-on activities that change each year (included with museum admission).
      • Research Library – Make an appointment to research your family’s genealogy, local history, and the 1600s. There is no charge to use the library.
  • Education Building — Tour history displays and try hands-on activities in the site’s repurposed 1870s barn.
  • Grounds — Stroll the landscaped site that features extensive stone walls, a bronze statue representing Henry Whitfeld, a ship’s cannon from the War of 1812, and a spur of the New England Trail that runs from Long Island Sound in Guilford through New Hampshire.
 

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Connecticut Public Television featured the Whitfield Henry Whitfield State Museum as one of the 50 most notable cultural resources in the state. Watch this 5-minute video now.

Research Library Finding Aids help you explore some of the museum's collections through Connecticut Archives Online, thanks in part to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Connecticut State Library on behalf of the State Archives and Conservation ConneCTion.

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