This post is written by Sandi Matgouranis, marketing coordinator for Experience Columbus. You can follow her on Twitter @Sandi_ExpCols.
Architecture aficionados, history buffs and political junkies should make a point of visiting the Ohio Statehouse, the center of state government in Ohio. Completed in 1861, 22 years after its ceremonial groundbreaking, this National Historic Landmark has a storied history and is filled with priceless historic art, including a marble bust of Abraham Lincoln—the only one the president posed for during his lifetime. Here’s how to explore this iconic structure.
Begin your day with a free guided or self-guided tour. There are several topics to choose from, including the monuments on the Statehouse grounds or the interior of the Statehouse. 45- to 60-minute guided interior tours are offered weekdays on the hour from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., and on weekends from noon-3 p.m.
Have a group of 10 or more? Book an interactive tour to be a guest at "Miss Emma's Table," named for a local socialite who lived beside the Ohio Statehouse in the 1800s. You’ll be treated to a hearty meal and have your choice of the classic tour or the Ohio Portals of History Tour, where actors bring history to life as you meet prominent figures from Ohio’s past and people who worked at the Statehouse.
No visit is complete without time well spent in the Museum Galleries and Museum Education Center. Learn about Ohio’s first female legislators in the Ladies Gallery, and see the collection of Ohio governor's portraits, spanning all the way back to 1788. Then, take a trip through the Museum Education Center and better your knowledge about the workings of state government. You’ll learn all about Ohio’s constitution, what it takes to balance the budget and how laws are made.
Want a more immersive experience? Plan your visit around a historical reenactment. Cheer on the Ohio Village Muffins – the vintage base-ball team – during a game on the west lawn. Or, witness a civil war encampment. The Battery A schedule is here. Get more details on visiting the Ohio Statehouse here.