Originally built in 1817, the Seward House Historic Museum was the former home of William H. Seward, one of the most foremost politicians of the 19th century. He served as NY State Senator, Governor of New York, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson. The house features the household items of three generations of the Seward family. It is believed that the book collection of Seward's daughter, Fanny, is one of the few remaining intact collections of a teenager in the 19th century. Other items include Native American artifacts Seward acquired from Alaska, Asian and other ancient artifacts he and his family collected while traveling abroad, and the horse-drawn carriage he and Abraham Lincoln used in Washington D.C. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.
The home was built by Judge Elijah Miller. Seward joined his practice and eventually married his daughter, Frances by 1824. They moved into the home around the same time. Seward expanded the house in 1840 and 1866 to allow for space to entertain guests and hold diplomatic functions. Besides being known as Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, which was very difficult in that he had to deftly manage foreign interests particularly France and England, he is also known for the purchase of what is now Alaska from Russia in 1867. He was ridiculed and his critics dubbed the purchase Seward's Folly. His grandson William H. Seward III bequeathed the home to the Fred L. Emerson Education Fund in 1951. The house opened as a museum in 1955.