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. In 1997, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Today, visitors may tour two buildings on the site. At the Visitor Center, you can pick up travel information in the lobby, browse through the gift shop, purchase admission tickets, view changing exhibits in two galleries, or use the research library. In the Henry Whitfield House, you can take a self-guided tour through three floors filled with 17th - 19th century furnishings and artifacts. An introductory exhibit on the first floor details the house's history and museum staff is 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!). A stroll around the landscaped grounds completes the tour. Please allow approximately one hour for your visit. The Visitor Center is wheelchair-accessible.