Join historical interpreters in 18th-century clothing as you walk through Dover’s historic Green and learn about the lives and times of the people who lived here across three centuries.
Tour the grand, Georgian-style building that has been home to Delaware’s General Assembly since 1933. Guided tours are offered most days throughout the year.
The Old State House is part of the First State National Historical Park. Visit the Old State House—Delaware’s first permanent capital building—to receive your National Park passport stamp.
Experience Dover with only your lantern to light the way. Hear true stories of historic Dover in generations past. These reservation-only tours are offered on select Thursday and Friday nights in the spring, summer, and fall.
Delaware’s first urban park without boundaries, First State Heritage Park explores the stories of remarkable Delawareans and innovative governance in the First State. Interpreters clothed head-to-toe in Revolutionary garb await to lead visitors in signature thematic walking tours, seasonal lantern-lit programs, craft workshops, and special events highlighting bygone eras. Oriented around the Dover Green, where Revolutionary soldiers marched, the US Constitution was ratified, Freedom Seekers escaped slavery, and crusading suffragists expanded equality, there is so much to discover in this historic half-acre! Visitors begin their experience at the John Bell House before visiting other sites in walking distance, including the Old State House, Legislative Hall, The Biggs Museum of American Art, the Delaware Public Archives, and Johnson Victrola Museum. Take a step back in time or relax in soft grass beneath the towering trees that have shaded visitors for 150 years, all at First State Heritage Park.
On the First Saturday of each month, we want to welcome citizens and guests of Dover with a series of thematic programs and events. There is something new every month! Programs at all First State Heritage Park sites. Check the calendar for details. While the major park attractions are open throughout the week, a variety of special programs and events are developed at each site for the first Saturday of each month, some buildings, like Governor's House at Woodburn and Courtroom# 1 at the Kent County Courthouse, are only open to the public on this day or by appointment.
First State Heritage Park's 18th Century Market Fair brings the past to life each November, with woodworkers and weavers, horners, blacksmiths and brewers, charlatans and shepherds, soldiers, seamstresses, soapmakers and more displaying their skills and their wares on Dover's historic Green. Learn more here
43 The Green
Open Wednesday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.,
Walking tours on the hour 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
School or Group Tours call (302) 739-9194 or email TourFSHP@delaware.gov
411 Legislative Avenue
A Georgian-style structure that has been home to Delaware's General Assembly since 1933.
Guided tours Wednesday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and First Saturday of the month from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
For group tours, please call (302) 739-9194.
Visit Legislative Hall
121 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
The Welcome Center offers free parking, information about First State Heritage Park programs and events, a gallery of changing exhibits on Delaware history and a rotating display of Delaware's founding documents.
The Welcome Center is open Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and exhibits are open to the public
406 Federal Street
This independent, non-profit museum boasts an outstanding collection of 18th- through 21st-century Delaware and American fine and decorative arts.
Thursday to Sunday 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
$10 General Admission. Free for all members.
Call (302)674-2111 for other rates and discounts
151 Kings Highway
Woodburn, the home of Delaware's governors since 1965, was built around 1798. Next door is the Victorian-era Hall House, which serves as the Governor's guest house.
Open First Saturday of the month from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., or by appointment
121 Martin Luther King J. Blvd. North
Delaware's Public Archives, one of the oldest archives in the country, contain materials from the 17th century to today.
Mabel Lloyd Ridgely Research Center
Monday - Friday, by appointment only
375 S. New Street
Self-guided tours Wednesday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (masks and rsvp no longer required)
25 The Green
Delaware's first permanent capitol building completed in 1791 on Dover's historic Green. The State House was the home of Delaware's General Assembly until 1933.
Guided tours available Wednesday-Saturday at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. Reservations are required.
Saturday, June 10, 2023
First State Heritage Park is proud to be among many institutions in the First State's capital to support the annual Dover Pride Festival! Stop by the John Bell House Interpretive Center to learn about some of Delaware history's most significant LGBTQ+ figures. You can also make a pride cockade, inspired by the early American practice of adorning one's clothes with a symbol demonstrating their support for a cause or movement about which they felt passionate. At 1 p.m., drop into the Old State House Museum and join Makeup Museum founder and curator Hillary Belzer for a talk on LGBTQ+ makeup history. LGBTQ+ artists, brand founders and other highlights will be shared, along with artifacts from the Makeup Museum's extensive collection. This program is presented in parnership between the Makeup Museum, HCA and DE State Parks. This program is FREE to the public.
Friday, June 16, 2023
The Victorians adored their city burial grounds as more than ornate places for the dead to repose, but for the living to enjoy too. In that spirit, we hope you'll join us for an hour-long special performance by vocalists from Opera Delaware. Bring a blanket or chair, some snacks and the non-alcoholic beverage of your choice and enjoy this evocative repertoire of music in the most unique of settings. Spend a musical evening among the tombstones during this FREE, one-night-only program! In the event of rain, the performance will be moved inside Christ Church. This program is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.
Saturday, June 17, 2023
One of Dover's most popular events is back in the historic downtown for 2023: Comic Con! Come visit with your favorite fictional characters brought to life by talented fans, visit the vendors and artists, and let your nerd flag fly! Throughout the day, FSHP will be offering our True Crime walking tour, craft activity and paper-cut silhouettes in a unique combination of 18th-century craft and 21st-century pop culture. This community event is hosted by the Delaware State News, Dover Public Library and the City of Dover. Sponsored in-part by First State Heritage Park. This program is FREE to the public.
Monday, June 19, 2023
The Dover Green has been the heart of this capital since its 18th-century founding. Led by a knowledgeable interpreter, experience the stories of the sites and people that have defined the First State experience. Tours are offered from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the hour from both the John Bell House Interpretive Center and Legislative Hall, Delaware's Capitol. Call 302-739-9194 or email TourFSHP@delaware.gov for more information.These programs are FREE to the public.
Saturday, July 1, 2023
Welcome Independence Day in old Delaware style! First State Heritage Park presents July 4th as it was enjoyed in the late 1800s: sack racing, tug 'o war, lawn games, and more! From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., consider joining us on the hour for an freshly updated walking tour: Revolutionary Dover! At 2:00, the Declaration of Independence will be read out from the steps of the Old State House, just as it was in July 1776. Other local sites await you today too: the Biggs Museum of American Art (10 a.m. - 4 p.m.) as well as the Old State House and Johnson Victrola Museum (reservations required) are all FREE for the day!
Tuesday, July 4, 2023
Celebrate American independence in the capital of the First State. As a part of the City of Dover's commemorative activities, FSHP is open for special hours. Visit the John Bell House Interpretive Center for tours on the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Legislative Hall for guided tours of the capitol from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Join members of the staff of the Old State House Museum at 2 p.m. for a special reading of the Declaration of Independence and for a bell-ringing to mark the national anniversary. This programs is FREE to the public.
Saturday, July 15, 2023
During the 18th century up until the invention of the telegraph, the written word was the only way that humankind could communicate over long distances. During the War for Independence, Committees of Correspondence were created specifically to spread the rhetoric of revolution. Visit the John Bell House Interpretive Center today and join Park Rangers from First State National Historical Park to learn how to write your own messages with a quill and ink, and seal it in wax. This program is FREE to the public.
Saturday, August 5, 2023
The DuPont Company, long a Delaware institution, was transformed by the Great War that raged from 1914-1918. Even before America entered the war, DuPont stepped up production to provide for growing armies in Europe and then for the Doughboys going ""Over There"". This made them many friends...and a few enemies. It also prompted a boom in innovation that would carry the DuPont Company and its fortunes to their zenith in the late 20th century. Join Lucas R. Clawson, the Hagley Historian, at the John Bell House Interpretive Center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for informal programs on this fascinating subject, and then next door for a formal lecture at the Old State House Museum at 2 p.m. This presentation is hosted in collaboration with the Hagley Museum & Library (Wilm., DE) and the Old State House Museum, part of the Division of Historical & Cultural Affairs. Other local sites await you today too: the Biggs Museum of American Art (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), the Governor's Residence at Woodburn (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.), Legislative Hall (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) as well as the Old State House (1 p.m. to 3 p.m.) and Johnson Victrola Museum (9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.) are all open for the day! These programs are FREE to the public.
Saturday, August 19, 2023
Travel back in time and meet Elizabeth Weed, the widow of George Weed, a Philadelphia pharmacist and 'doctor'. In the 18th Century, Elizabeth maintained the business under her own name while supporting her son. Elizabeth will have her medicines on hand to 'cure' any illnesses you may have! She is also looking for some apprentices and will give visitors a chance to create their own tooth powder. This program is FREE to the public!
Saturday, April 8, 2028
The Dover Green has been the heart of this capital since its 18th-century founding. Led by a knowledgeable interpreter, experience the stories of the sites and people that have defined the First State experience. There is always something new to discover each time you visit First State Heritage Park! Walking tours are offered hourly from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., departing from the John Bell House Interpretive Center (43 The Green). Legislative Hall, Delawares Capitol, offers guided tours from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays when the site is open. It is closed on Saturdays except for the first Saturday of each month. We encourage guests to wear comfortable shoes and bring water for all walking tours. Be advised that they frequently cover uneven ground and historic cobblestones. These programs are FREE to the public.