(March 16, 2020) At direction of the governor and following recommendations from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), all 12 locations of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites will be temporarily closed beginning March 17 in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. This decision was made out of an abundance of caution, to protect the safety and health of our staff, volunteers and visitors.
This is where Indiana had its beginnings: where Chief Tecumseh walked, where the first governor of the Indiana Territory and ninth president of the United States lived and worked, and where troops mustered for the Battle of Tippecanoe.
Activities to enjoy:
1 W. Harrison St.
Vincennes, IN 47591
Vincennes State Historic Sites are located just yards from the Wabash River on Harrison Street. Parking is available on Scott Street or in the Vincennes University parking lot on First Street where there are parking places designated as “Historic Sites” parking. The 1830s log cabin serves as the sites’ Visitor Center.
Tuesday – Sunday
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays* and April 12 (Easter)
Open Jan. 1 (New Year’s Day), *Jan. 20 - FREE (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day), Feb. 17 - FREE (Presidents’ Day), March 23 & 30 (Spring Break)
Open with FREE admission April 4 for Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day with valid Museum Day ticket, available at Smithsonianmag.com/museumday.
Purchase tickets in person at the Log Cabin Visitor Center.
For groups of 15 or more, adult and youth tickets are $4. Group tickets must be purchased in-person at the Log Cabin Visitor Center.
Special discounts are available for educators and education groups, military, Access Pass holders and more. View all discounts >>
Become a member and receive free unlimited admission to Vinvennes State Historic Site and all 12 statewide locations of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. Members also receive 10 percent discount in the gift shop and free admission to more than 300 museum and science centers worldwide. Learn more about membership options.
Field trip admission is free for pre-scheduled, accredited schools and homeschool groups of 10 or more Indiana K-12 students. Call 812.882.7422 to schedule your visit.
Academic topics covered include Indiana territorial history, early Indiana statehood (1800-1816), Native American history, French language, financial literacy, diversity, architecture and nature.
Learn more about field trip and school program offerings in the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites PreK-12 Education Program Guide. View guide >>
We hope to see you at our upcoming events. Visit our calendar for a list of events happening at all 12 Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites locations.
Saturday, April 4, 2020
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Smithsonian Museum Day
This even has been canceled
Per Smithsonian Ma...
Saturday, April 11, 2020
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Postponed: Courageous Conversations: Hoosier Heartache and Hope
Join your neighbors in discussing real issues imp...
Saturday, April 25, 2020
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Postponed: Kid Adventure Days
In March, learn about Lewis and Clark’s jou...
Saturday, May 23, 2020
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Arts in the Parks - "Save for the Future" Workshop for Kids
Knox County students in grades 4 through 6 will l...
Saturday, August 15, 2020
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Arts in the Parks - Sounds They Left Behind: Music from the Old World in Indiana's New France
Join Leighann Ragusa and others as they perform a...
Consider hosting your special event at Vincennes State Historic Sites. Please fill out our inquiry form to receive information.
If you are a photographer looking to book a shoot at Vincennes State Historic Site, please review our commercial photography policy and application process. Learn more >>
Founded in 1732 when what is now the Midwest belonged to France, Vincennes is Indiana's oldest city. France lost the area to Great Britain, which in turn lost it to the Americans in the Revolutionary War. Congress created the Indiana Territory in 1800, with Vincennes as its capital. The new territory was much larger than the State of Indiana today, including what is now Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and part of Minnesota.
It was at Vincennes that Governor William Henry Harrison and others made decisions that influenced the future of the whole Midwest. Westward migration meant conflict with Native Americans who had a different view of land ownership and use. It meant enormous land sales, the creation of new counties and, later, new states out of the Indiana Territory.
INDIANA TERRITORY CAPITAL
In 1805, Indiana Territory went to the second stage of government and elected representatives. From its very beginning, Indiana had a bicameral (two house) legislature. A Legislative Council (or Senate) of five men used the upstairs room, while the nine-man House of Representatives used the downstairs room. The "Red House" was one of three buildings rented by the legislature from 1805 to 1813 and was the meeting place of the legislature in 1811, after the Battle of Tippecanoe. Built in 1805 as a tailor shop, the "Red House" is a small two-story building, its heavy timber frame held together with wooden pegs. In 1813, the territorial government moved to Corydon, which became Indiana's first state capital when Indiana became a state in 1816.
THE FRENCH HOUSE
The French House is an original French Creole style home built ca. 1809. It was the home of Michel Brouillet who was born in Vincennes in 1774 and spent most of his life working in the fur trade. During the War of 1812 he served as a scout and messenger between Vincennes and Fort Harrison, near Terre Haute, Indiana. The house is an excellent example of the kind of houses built by the French in the Mississippi Valley in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Unlike the American log cabin with horizontal logs, the French style uses upright posts fitted into a horizontal sill beam. The French House is located at 509 N. 1st Street.
The Jefferson Academy tells the story of early public education. Founded in 1801 by Governor Harrison, it was the first school of higher learning in Indiana. In 1806, it became Vincennes University. Thomas Jefferson and William Henry Harrison are the only two presidents who have established colleges. The headmaster of the school was the village priest, Father Jean Francois Rivet, former professor of Latin at the Royal College of Limoges, France. Classes took place in the main room of the church rectory, with subjects such as Latin, geometry and geography.
ELIHU STOUT PRINT SHOP
Elihu Stout's Print Shop represents the power of communication in westward expansion. As the country expanded westward, the distribution of information was crucial to the formation of states. In 1804, Gov. William Henry Harrison brought Elihu Stout to Vincennes to print the laws of the Indiana territory. Stout also printed the laws the legislature enacted to govern the new Louisiana Purchase lands. In July 1804, Stout started the Indiana Gazette, the first newspaper in Indiana, which ran for 41 years. Previously, Stout had been a journeyman printer with the Kentucky Gazette in Lexington, KY.
FORT KNOX II
Fort Knox II Site was an important military outpost used by the United States Army from 1803 to 1813. Captain Zachary Taylor strengthened Fort Knox with a stockade in 1811. Governor William Henry Harrison "mustered" (assembled) his army at Fort Knox II and marched up the Wabash River to the Battle of Tippecanoe at Prophetstown (near present-day Lafayette, Ind.) on Nov. 7, 1811.
SUGAR LOAF MOUNDS
Sugar Loaf Mound is a natural feature that Late Woodland Indians used as a burial mound around 900 A.D. Travelers heading to Vincennes along the Buffalo Trace from Louisville used it as a landmark. The mound also served as a marker along the Underground Railroad for slaves seeking freedom in the North.
OLD STATE BANK
The Old State Bank helped transform Indiana from a fur-trade to agricultural economy. On Feb. 13, 1834, the Indiana General Assembly chartered the Second State Bank of Indiana, with headquarters in Indianapolis and 12 branches across the state. In addition to Vincennes, the other branches were in Indianapolis, Lawrenceburg, Richmond, New Albany, Madison, Evansville, Bedford, Terre Haute, Lafayette, Fort Wayne and South Bend.
In Vincennes, the bank began business immediately in a rented building located on First Street between Main and Vigo Streets. The State Bank moved into this building upon its completion in November 1838. The bank is in the Greek Revival style, made to look like the front of a Greek temple. The main room of the bank features six fluted columns, more than 30 feet tall, supporting a bell-shaped cupola and a hand-riveted steel vault.
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