“We the People” is the empowering introduction to the American Constitution that calls all citizens to actively participate in the governing process. It is a phrase that reflects the intent of our Founding Fathers to establish a government run by the people, for the people.
The dedicated team of staff and volunteers at the N.J. State House Tours Office, have made it their mission to educate the public in the legislative process and our role in the governing process by offering a variety of tours and learning opportunities for citizens of all ages.
Yet a tour of the N.J. State House is much more than an educational journey into lawmaking, it is also a lesson in art, architecture and N.J. history.
The N.J. State House, which was built in 1792, is a historical landmark and one of the oldest functioning state capitals in the country. While it has undergone numerous renovations in its 225 year tenure, these renovations have remained focused on preserving the buildings architectural design and artistic detail which can be viewed throughout the tour.
A N.J. State House Tour immerses the visitor in unique forms of art and artifacts that are found throughout the lobbies and corridors of this magnificent building. Around every corner, hidden in the ceramic tiles, paintings, carvings and stained glass windows and domes, is another story about New Jersey and its history.
On display in the lobby of the General Assembly Wing, is an exquisite porcelain sculpture called “The Glory of N.J.” which holds numerous state symbols and 21 golden finch that represent the 21 counties of N.J. It is surrounded by flags from every county.
Outside the Old Library Wing, which once served as the Bureau of Public Records, a stained glass skylight designed by J. Kenneth Leap, lights the vestibule with filtered sunlight as the visitor enters Committee Room 6. This impressive work of art depicts the great diversity, culture and history that is unique to N.J.
Tours are available to the public Monday through Friday 10 a.m. -3 p.m. and are approximately an hour long. Weekend tours are available on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month. Reservations are required for groups of 10 or more and can be made by contacting the tour office at 609-847-3150 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
While the N.J. State House functions as the home of our state government, it is also a historical gem with beautiful architecture, art and artifacts that are sure to delight and amaze the visitor as they journey into the world of the legislative process.