The Stairwell Room

State House - Stairwell Room   

The two staircases in this room were part of the original State House as it was built in 1772-1779, and are shown on the floor plan of the State House published in 1789. One of them leads to the visitor’s gallery above the Old Senate Chamber. Ladies were not allowed on the floor of the Senate Chamber and were required to watch the proceedings from the balcony.

The other staircase originally led a jury room on the second floor of the State House and also to the dome. It was one of two sets of stairs that took people up into the dome; the other set, across the Rotunda next to the original House of Delegates Chamber was removed in 1858

One of the most famous visits to the dome took place in September 1790, when Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Thomas Lee Shippen were taken to the top of the dome by a local physician named Dr. John Shaaff who delighted his guests by, as Mr. Shippen said, “opening the roofs of the houses and telling us the history of each family who lived in them.”

There are different themes presented on each wall of this room: George Washington, the 18th Century State House, Revolutionary Annapolis, and the Treaty of Paris and Thomas Jefferson in Annapolis.

  • George Washington Wall:
    The images on this wall highlight George Washington’s journey throughout the War,  from his appointment as commander-in-chief of the Continental army to his transition into a private citizen.
  • The 18th Century State House:
    The images on this wall highlight crucial events and original documents related to the Maryland State House in the eighteenth century
  • Revolutionary Annapolis:
    The images on this wall highlight the revolutionary fervor in Annapolis and early depictions of the four signers of the Declaration of Independence from Maryland.Lord Ligonier
  • The Treaty of Paris at Annapolis:
    The images on this wall highlight the ratification of the Treaty of Paris, Thomas Jefferson’s appointment as minister plenipotentiary, and Jefferson and James Madison’s visit to the State House Dome in 1790.

Historical Photos of the Stairwell Room

Stairwell Room 2008
Stairwell Room 1948





Exhibits in the Stairwell Room

John Shaw # 1 Des