New Castle Court House Museum

New Castle Court House Museum - a colonial style court house built of red brick with a large bell tower atop its roof

Built in 1732, the New Castle Court House Museum previously served as Delaware’s first court and state capitol. Here in 1776, New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties declared their independence from Pennsylvania and England creating the Delaware State.

The New Castle Court House, located in the heart of the historic City of New Castle, Delaware, is one of the oldest surviving courthouses in the United States and a registered National Historic Landmark. The original 1732 court is built over the remains of the 1680s courthouse, with additions and modifications throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. All jurisdictions of Delaware’s courts, and including the federal courts, have met in this building. The state courts removed to the City of Wilmington in 1881 with the changing of the county seat, but occasional court sessions and proceedings are still held here.

The New Castle Court House is also Delaware’s first capital building and meeting place for the colonial and first state Assembly. On June 15, 1776, the legislature passed a resolution to separate from Pennsylvania and Great Britain, creating the Delaware State.

Two months later, September 20, 1776, the first constitution for the Delaware State was adopted. In 1777, the capital moved to Dover.

Exhibits and Displays

A red white and blue promotional fan advertising electronic voting in the state of Delaware

The Path to Freedom: A History of the Underground Railroad in Delaware

Photo of exhibit about A History of the Underground Railroad in Delaware

Exhibit telling the harrowing story of one family’s escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Learn about the family and the challenges they, and many other runaways, faced. Explore the lives of famous abolitionists and the consequences they faced in helping runaway slaves.

Three Forts,
One Community

photo of exhibit Exhibit highlighting the cultural and social impacts the Swedish, Dutch and English settlements

Exhibit highlights the cultural and social impacts the Swedish, Dutch and English settlements had on the present day town of New Castle. Also highlighted is the trade and relationships they had with the local Lenni Lenape tribes including an interactive table with popular trade goods such as beaver fur.

Visitor Information


The museum is open to the public and admission is free. Donations are appreciated.

Hours of Operation

Monday: 10AM- 4PM Until September 2nd

Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday – Saturday: 10AM – 4PM
Sunday: 1:30PM – 4:30PM


Meet at the museum front entrance.
Monday, Wednesday – Saturday: 10AM, 11AM, 1PM, 2PM, 3PM
Sunday: 1:30PM, 2:30PM, 3:30PM

*Private tours and events can change the schedule. Calling ahead is recommended.

*Large group tours require reservation. Call (302) 323-4453 to schedule a group tour.


Street parking is available in downtown New Castle within walking distance of the museum.


The first floor of the court house is accessible to people with mobility concerns. Please call 302-323-4453 for assistance with accessible entrance.

Museum Gallery

Frequently Asked Questions

Tours of the New Castle Court House Museum are available on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.; and on Sundays at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

*We do recommend calling ahead as sometimes private tours and events can change the schedule

Tours are guided by a historic-site interpreter with options for self-guiding in some areas of the building

Forty-five minutes. Please arrive on time.

No reservations are required except for groups over 10 guests. They are free, and available by calling the New Castle Court House Museum at 302-323-4453.

No, reservations for groups of 10 or more are only available over the phone at this time.

Once you arrive, please wait at the main double doors of the museum. A museum staff member will be outside to greet you five minutes before your scheduled tour time.

The maximum number of people that can be on a tour is 15.

Restrooms are available at the New Castle Court House.

National Parks Passport stamps are available at the New Castle Court House Museum. If you just want the stamp and not a tour please head to the office door to the right of the main double door and knock.

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