Old Courthouse Theater

Now Showing:
"Slavery on Trial: The Dred Scott Decision"

“Slavery on Trial” is a 17-minute film detailing the struggle for freedom of St. Louis slaves Dred and Harriet Scott, and the infamous Supreme Court decision of 1857 that declared that African Americans had “no rights a white man was bound to respect.” The film was produced especially for Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, which preserves the Old Courthouse, site of the original freedom suit of the Scotts and their first two trials, by the History Channel.

The film uses historic documents and images, reenactment scenes, and interviews with historians (and a direct descendant of the Scotts) to bring the story to life and relate it to later civil rights cases in America. The film is shown on the half hour in the Old Courthouse, and is a fitting introduction to an exhibit on the Scott case, as well as historic courtrooms that include the one in which the Scotts received their freedom in 1857.

This video is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. The video is shown daily in the Old Courthouse Theater, with seating limited to 50. Due to the historic nature of this building, this theater is not handicapped accessible. Find more information on Old Courthouse Theater accessibility below.

The first floor of the Old Courthouse is accessible from the Broadway Street side (west side) by wheelchair lift. Portable ramps are available for access into the first floor galleries only.

The following are also available:

Accessible rest rooms and drinking fountains on the first floor.

An interactive kiosk provides accessibility information. Through the use of the interactive computer, one can "visit" the upper floors or the top of the dome.

Video programs which show ranger-led programs and locales on the upper floors.

The film "Slavery on Trial: The Dred Scott Decision" is open captioned and audio enhancement is available.

Audio enhancement devices for ranger-led programs are available at the information desk.

Walkways and a drinking fountain are accessible in Luther Ely Smith Square, located east of the Old Courthouse between Fourth Street and Memorial Drive.

Audio readings of the park brochures are available on cassette tape in the Old Courthouse Gift Shop.

A video of the Dred Scott exhibit on the second floor rotunda is available for viewing upon request.

Last updated: August 4, 2016

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Mailing Address:

11. North 4th Street
St. Louis, MO 63102


(314) 655-1600

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