Volunteer Tour Guides
Volunteers help to welcome citizens, students, and tourists to the State House, where they learn about our rich history and representative democracy.
State House Tour Office volunteers are a diverse group of professionals, retired educators, business people, students, and homemakers who share a love of history, an interest in government, and a desire to teach others about the State of New Jersey.
In hour-long tours, volunteer guides teach visitors about the lawmaking process, including the role the citizen plays in shaping public policy. Tours also include an overview of State history and the art and architecture of one of the most significant buildings in New Jersey.
In this program, students role-play as legislators and learn that debate, negotiation, and compromise are at the heart of the lawmaking process. A volunteer facilitator takes on the role of the Senate President or General Assembly Speaker to guide the discussion and final vote. Make-A-Law! lessons are for grades 3rd through 12th and last 30 to 45 minutes.
Individuals must complete an application and be interviewed. Selected applicants will be trained and evaluated by Tour Office staff. Volunteers must:
- Complete a five-session training program
- Be available during weekdays
- Lead 12 tours or Make-A-Law! programs annually
- Interact with diverse groups of visitors in a friendly and welcoming manner
- Be able to organize and present information in a meaningful way
- Fulfill the responsibilities explained in the Participation Guidelines
- Continuing education through workshops and special programs
- Skill development in leadership and public-speaking
- Meeting active, like-minded people in your community
- Field trips to regional tourist sites
- Special events
- Recognition by legislative leaders
- Personally rewarding experiences - see testimonials
"Facilitating a tour is the highlight of my day! When I walk the halls and rooms of the State House, I am filled with awe and feel proud sharing the art, history, and architecture with visitors from all over. As a retired educator, I was looking for a way to stay involved with children. Volunteering as a docent has given me this opportunity and so much more!"
- Carol Hotchkiss, Volunteer Tour Guide
"Being a State House Tour guide is one of my favorite activities. It helps me learn more about New Jersey's history, civics, and current events. And each tour group brings new questions and perspectives, so my education is ongoing. If you like learning, teaching, and interacting with young minds, I highly recommend becoming a State House tour guide."
- Stan DeGroote, Volunteer Tour Guide
"Becoming a tour guide for the New Jersey State House is a wonderful experience. Not only is there so much history contained within these walls, but it provides a unique experience to see the awe through the eyes of others. Whether the visitors are Capitol Collectors, a passerby, on a school trip, or an out-of-country visitor, everyone gains an appreciation for what happens beneath the Gold Dome."
- Natalie Pagan, Volunteer Tour Guide
"In addition to speaking about the value of democracy, one of the things I like most about being an NJ State House Volunteer is the way the staff treats us. Before, during, and after every tour I feel the staff is there supporting me 110%. That certainly makes for a very pleasant experience!"
- Richard Telofski, Volunteer Tour Guide