Before construction of the new state house on Beacon Hill , British and American governors alike used this small brick building (206 Washington Street, 617/720-1713, www.bostonhistory.org , 9 a.m.–6 p.m. daily Jul.–Aug., 9 a.m.–4 p.m. daily Jan., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily Feb.–Jun., Sep.–Dec., $7 adults, $6 seniors and students, $3 children 6–18, free children under 6) as the headquarters for the Massachusetts government. Now dwarfed by the office towers around it, the cupola atop the center of the building used to be the highest point in Boston .
On one side of the Old State House are replicas of the standing lion and unicorn that signified the crown of England (the originals were torn down during the Revolution), while on the other is a gold-covered eagle signifying the new United States. On the second floor of the Old State House is the headquarters for the Bostonian Society, which runs a small museum full of artifacts including tea from the Boston Tea Party , weapons from the Battle of Bunker Hill , and clothing worn by John Hancock. It also exhibits a Boston Massacre  “sound and light show.”