State House tours begin in the historic State House Annex and proceed to the beautifully restored legislative chambers. Please note room availability may be affected by business needs, especially on Mondays and Thursdays.
General Assembly Chamber
When Thomas Edison’s Electric Light Company installed the brass chandelier in the new General Assembly chamber in 1891, the light bulb was just thirteen years old. It symbolized a new era of progress and technological promise. Nevertheless, the top half of the wall sconces were piped for old-fashioned gas light, just in case.
Stained glass lunettes and an enormous skylight help to brighten the spacious hall. Gold leafing decorates ornamental plasterwork. A brightly painted wooden statue depicting the great seal of the State of New Jersey stands atop a high arch over the Assembly Speaker’s dais. The modern carpet evokes designs of years ago, incorporating images of four state symbols: the Purple Violet, Eastern Goldfinch, Red Oak Tree, and Honey Bee.
Washington’s troops fought more battles in New Jersey than anywhere else. Artist William Brantley Van Ingen designed sixteen symbolic murals for the Senate Chamber to celebrate our hard-won freedom and prosperity. Scenes include the Revolutionary War battles of Trenton, Princeton, and Monmouth, as well as important industries, such as building construction, glass making, agriculture, and ceramics. The domed skylight features the names of famous New Jerseyans, including Governor William Livingston, inventor Seth Boyden, and Civil War General George B. McClellan.
Originally completed in 1903, the Senate Chamber exemplifies the style of "Classical Revival." It is the third such chamber dedicated to the upper House to exist at the capitol. The first now serves as the Governor’s Office, making New Jersey’s State House one of the oldest in continuous use in the entire nation.
The State House’s Renaissance Revival style Rotunda, designed by architect Lewis Broome, was completed in 1889. The building’s original Rotunda was destroyed by fire in 1885. Built as a grand entrance hall, the room contains numerous references to the State and nation, including eagles, swords, scales, and the New Jersey State Seal. The State House Rotunda was restored to its 1911 to 1913 appearance during a six-year restoration of the State House’s Executive Wing that culminated in 2023.
Senators from the same political party meet in this room around the conference table to hold party caucuses - meetings to discuss their legislative agenda and party policies. The room originally housed the New Jersey Supreme Court until the judicial branch of government moved to the adjacent Annex building in 1931. Five judges once sat before a high bench in a curved apse (far end) and heard arguments. They deliberated in chambers once located through the two arched doors that flank the aspe. A stained glass skylight still includes symbols of the rule of law.
Constructed from 1929 to 1931, the State House Annex features Beaux Arts architecture. Reflecting the onset of the Great Depression, interior finishes were rich-looking, but inexpensive treatments. Originally built to house the State Museum, State Library, and State Judiciary, it is outfitted with five sets of sculpted bronze doors symbolizing the original use of each area in the building. Today it contains public hearing rooms and legislative offices.
Notable commissioned artworks include a stained glass skylight showcasing New Jersey’s natural beauty and fabled heritage. Upper floors are seen on Annex tours which must be booked in advance.