There are a lot of historical treasures right here in Concord, and you probably don’t even realize they exist. There’s a good chance you walk right past something important and culturally significant every time you go downtown, and you likely have always taken it for granted.
You might also not realize that not one but two scavenger hunts exist at the State House – an outdoor one and an indoor one – and they both serve to provide a little entertainment and a lot of knowledge about New Hampshire history.
Not unlike the Tales of New Hampshire Family Story Time at the New Hampshire Historical Society (which we featured in last week’s installment of Go Try It), the State House’s scavenger hunts combine fun activities with lots of facts to give participants a well-rounded and educational experience.
“It’s kind of guaranteed to have you walk through the whole building,” said Virginia Drew, director of the State House’s visitor’s center, referring to the indoor scavenger hunt.
“I don’t know that people know there’s a Mayflower plaque in the State House, or how many stairs are between the floors, or where’s the Gettysburg Address plaque, we have a Hungarian revolution plaque,” Drew said. “We even have some fossils in the floor.”
The idea behind each of the scavenger hunts is to get people to explore all corners of the State House, inside and out, and learn something either about the building or the state in the process.
While not all of those fun facts Drew mentioned are answers to the scavenger hunts, they’re good examples of the kinds of things the hunts lead you to discover.
How would we know? Well, we went down there last week and tried one.
Since it was near the end of the day, we opted for the outdoor version – the State House closes at 4 p.m., and anyone wanting to do the indoor scavenger hunt, which is unguided, should plan on getting there by about 3, leaving you about an hour to complete the whole thing. Drew said it usually takes people about 45 minutes, but you don’t want to get booted when you’re just a few clues shy of finishing.
Anyway, we started by entering the State House through the main entrance and heading to the visitor’s center on the right. Drew greeted us and gave us the sheet with all the clues for the outdoor hunt, which she said is geared more toward kids.
Once we had our clues, we got to hunting.
The first clue asks who the archway leading to the State House grounds is dedicated to. The next clue asks whose statue is out front to the left. The clues continue in an order that slowly but surely takes you all through the State House grounds.
Given the nature of scavenger hunts being missions to find hidden stuff, we don’t want to say too much, other than we learned a lot and sweat quite a bit out in the sun. It was definitely an easy-to-follow scavenger hunt that was pretty fun.
The State House is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, and you can get sheets for either scavenger hunt from the visitor’s center inside. Both are free.