State Capitols and Civic Education

The following document contains states responses from a survey about how state capitols or legislative buildings are used to promote civic education. The survey was sent out via e-mail to listservs maintained by the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries and the National Legislative Services and Security Association.

 

States that responded

1.

Are any of the public spaces in your capitol/legislative building devoted to civic education? If so, how are these spaces used? If not, do you have future plans?

2.

Approximately how many visitors come to your capitol/legislative building annually?

3.

Do you use paid, professional guides for your capitol tours or do you rely on volunteers?

4.

Have you found ways to emphasize civic education (rather than the building and its art and architecture) in your tour guide programs?

5.

What agencies administer the visitor and civic education functions in your capitol or legislative building?

6.

Does your capitol/legislative building have a gift shop? If so, who administers it? What types of items are offered for sale?

 

States Responded:

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | California (questions 2,3 and 6 only) | Connecticut | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Illinois | Kansas | Maine | Minnesota | Missouri | Nebraska | New Jersey | New Mexico | Oklahoma | Pennsylvania | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia (updated 8/31/10) | Washington | Wisconsin | Wyoming


 

Question 1.

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Connecticut | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Illinois | Kansas | Maine | Minnesota | Missouri | Nebraska | New Jersey | New Mexico | Oklahoma | Pennsylvania | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | Wisconsin | Wyoming

Are any of the public spaces in your capitol/legislative building devoted to civic education about the history, politics and policy processes of your state? If so, how are these spaces used? If not, do you have ideas for how you might do it in the future? (For example, Ohio built a classroom/education center into its recent capitol renovation. The room is a starting point for all capitol tours, and the place where a 7-minute video about the state policy process is shown.)

State

Response

Alabama

Original capitol has been historically restored and chambers are no longer used. We have no dedicated space.

Alaska

We do not have sufficient room to have a classroom/education center. We have even turned closets into offices or an ADA bathroom.

Arizona

Arizona's old capitol building has been turned into a museum, including the original restored governor's office and house and senate chambers. Otherwise, we have no dedicated "civic education" space, although individual rooms or offices may be used for that purpose in specific instances.

Connecticut

We have a tour and information desk at the front entrance to the legislative office building (LOB) and an office in the Capitol for Capitol Information and Tours which is operated by the League of Women Voters of Connecticut Education Fund. Both locations display free information about state government. There is no dedicated space for the start of tours, but usually we are able to use one of ten public hearing/committee rooms. In the concourse between the LOB and Capitol there is a permanent wall display on the history of the Connecticut General Assembly. There are numerous displays throughout the concourse and first floor of the Capitol, which include statues, war flags, Medal of Honor winners, plaques, ship figureheads and bells. All have descriptive plaques.

Florida

Public spaces devoted to civic education in the capitol, would include the Women's Hall of Fame on the plaza level, displays of historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence, and the Japanese surrender on the 22nd floor. The Senate has a large mural which depicts aspects of Florida history on one wall outside their chamber gallery.

We also provide hands-on mock session experience in our House chamber for students and other groups interested in the legislative process.

Georgia

We do not have a particular office devoted strictly for education and/or history of Georgia. However, throughout the Capitol floors, our tour guide coordinator, who is a historian is responsible for this program.

Hawaii

There is an office of information, but no public classrooms exclusively dedicated to education. The capitol auditorium is used when needed for specific programs.

Illinois

A large exhibit explaining the history of the State Capitol has been on the second floor since 1989. No other public spaces are interpreted.

Kansas

Currently the Kansas Capitol does not have space available in the building to devote to civic education. In July 1998, the tour guides came under the umbrella of the State Historical Society. A survey is under way to discover how other state capitols conduct tours, what education is offered, etc. They hope to develop a plan in the near future which will determine the direction in which the tour guide program should proceed. The Society is hoping to find space in the Capitol for an educational program which is yet to be determined.

Maine

We are in the middle of a Capitol renovation project. We have not yet worked out the issues concerning an educational center. The issue is on the table. We will have an area of the Capitol devoted to this project. We have recently completed a video on the legislative process which could be used in conjunction with this program.

Minnesota

138.054 [Statute citation] declares that it is an important purpose and function of state government to promote knowledge and understanding of the government and establishes the Minnesota History and Government Learning Center was established.

Missouri

When the new Missouri Capitol was designed in 1912, the galleries on either side of the first floor rotunda were intended to serve as exhibit spaces. The legislature confirmed this use by creating the "Soldiers and Sailors memorial Hall" in 1919 and the "Resources Museum" in 1912. Both museums were combined into the Missouri State Museum in 1923. Since then the Soldiers and Sailor Memorial Hall has been expanded and now includes the History Hall.

Nebraska

Currently we do not have such a space. However, by the start of the 1999 session, the Warner Legislative Chamber will become a cornerstone for educating and sensitizing people to state government with an obvious emphasis on the legislative branch. It will be available as a primary meeting/gathering place for people who visit our State Capitol. Upon completion, this project will make the Warner Legislative Chamber a state-of-the-art interactive learning and teleconferencing center where students and citizens can learn about state government.

Nebraska's first floor information area is often devoted to civic education. The area is used for billboards, models, or other visual displays of educational material. Currently, a display advocating "Say Yes to the Arts" occupies the area. On other occasions, displays advocating public health or commemorating Black History Month are there for public viewing. To my knowledge, there is no specific room designated for civic education.

New Jersey

All guided tours of the State Capitol focus on the legislative process. Docents must complete an extensive training course that includes content and teaching techniques, to help facilitate learning. A wide range of free publications geared to both children and adults help explain the legislative process. Additionally, the State plans to include exhibits on civics in its new Welcome Center.

New Mexico

No - The Palace of the Governors is a museum that presents an interpretation of New Mexico Governmental history. There is no permanent display at the capitol that deals with NM governmental history, although we do have the pictures of the legislative leadership since territorial days in the hallway outside of the legislative chambers. We have no special rooms where tours begin or end.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma has no dedicated civic education area in the Capitol Building; however, we have a number of multipurpose rooms where various types of orientations are presented. There is no scheduled programming. Due to space and financial limitations, there are no plans to change at this time.

Pennsylvania

The Welcome Center is the only space devoted to civic education; however, many rooms and corridors are used for this purpose. The Capitol, in its entirety, offers an arena for civic education. The Main Rotunda and the East Wing Rotunda are used for special events that include activities involving civic education. The House and Senate Chambers are used for model legislatures and both houses broadcast their sessions on public cable. The first Speaker's Millennium Lecture took place this past May in the House Chamber. Educational displays are also presented in corridors throughout the Capitol complex.

Tennessee

Our capitol does not have any space set aside for that specific purpose.

Texas

At this time the Capitol Visitors Center only offers the history of our state's settlement and growth. The State Preservation Board is currently in the process of accepting bids to determine who will get the job of redesigning the Old General Land Office facility. When completed in six months, there will be a greater emphasis on the current political and civic processes as well as more interactive educational tools for the public to use.

Utah

No public spaces are devoted solely to civic education although the House and Senate chambers and committee rooms are used by school and citizen organizations (Boys' State, Girls' State, 4-H, Senior Citizen's Day, etc.) throughout the year. House and Senate staff, other legislative staff, and legislators moderate or facilitate discussions about the legislative process for these groups.

Vermont

Vermont's State House (1859) has been restored over a 15-year period, but has not added any new space to the capitol building. Consequently, we use one of two large caucus rooms for large school groups that visit during our legislative session (from January to April), if these spaces are available. We developed an 18-minute video geared toward the school group audience that explains the history of our statehouse, its art and architecture and the legislative process. That is occasionally viewed at school before they arrive or in one of the caucus rooms.

Virginia

Capitol Tour Guides conduct tours in the State Capitol. Tours begin in the Capitol Extension and proceed up to the historic Capitol building and include the Rotunda, Old House Chamber, Old Senate Chamber, Jefferson Room, and the House and Senate Chambers. Guided tours last approximately 45 minutes.

Washington

We have a Welcome Center -- see enclosed pamphlet.

Wisconsin

As part of the Wisconsin Capitol Restoration, a multi-media facility is included. A video production on the Capitol and Legislature will be available in the room for tours to view "when the room is not used for committee activity".

Wyoming

No specific space is reserved in the Capitol (which is also the legislative building), for civic education. Our educational program activities are conducted on a space available basis. Many possibilities for future space allocations have been proposed informally. No changes are imminent in the current arrangements.

Question 2.

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | California | Connecticut | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Illinois | Kansas | Maine | Minnesota | Missouri | Nebraska | New Jersey | New Mexico | Oklahoma | Pennsylvania | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | Wisconsin | Wyoming

Approximately how many visitors come to your capitol/legislative building annually?

State

Response

Alabama

200,000 or more.

Alaska

15,000 in 3 1/2 months for summer tour program; we do not track winter visitors.

Arizona

We have approximately 76,000 "tourists" who go on guided tours of the museum, and probably that many unguided "walkthroughs" in addition.

California

There were approximately 500,000 visitors at the State Capitol during the 1997-98 fiscal year. The latter is a combined approximation of drop-in visitors and private tour groups. Since the Capitol in Sacramento is open year round to the general public, it is impossible to pinpoint the exact number of individuals or groups that visit the Capitol through private groups.

Connecticut

In 1997/98, 31,095 visitors took one hour guided tours; approximately 10,000 more used self-guided booklets to tour. The Capitol police estimate that 100,000 use the buildings annually.

Florida

The Florida Welcome Center estimates that the number of counted visitors is approximately 60,000 while possibly 200,000 visit without the aid of the welcome center.

Georgia

We have approximately 550,000 thousand visitors annually.

Hawaii

Figures were available for the six month period from Jan-June 98. Tthe Governor's Office of Information reported giving 400 tours to 9024 adults and 12,763 students. This does not include specially arranged tours by legislators, other government officials and private tour agencies, so the overall figures are probably higher.

Illinois

200,000 to 250,000 are given tours.

Kansas

Approximately 147,000--Approximately 38,000 to 40,000 visitors register with the Visitor's Center each year. This does, of course, not count those who just come and look around on their own. Most of those registered come during the legislative time (January-April).

Maine

Approx. 10,000 are given guided tours (9 AM to 1 PM daily). At least another 10,000 go on the self-guided tour annually.

Minnesota

Am not certain. The Capitol is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.

Missouri

Approximately 200,000 to 250,000 visitors a year visit the museum galleries and take the guided tours. A large, but unknown, number come to the capitol each year but does not participate in these activities.

Nebraska

Over 100,000 visitors tour the State Capitol annually. (This figure represents visitors who actually participated in a guided capitol tour and does not include those who tour the capitol on their own.)

New Jersey

Nearly 32,000 individuals will tour the State House in 1998. Approximately 100,000 more pass through the building on official business or to observe the Legislature in session.

New Mexico

We get 20,000 or more visitors each year, other than those here on official business.

Oklahoma

There are no estimates for total number of visitors. Over 30,000 people actually take a guided tour. I would guess that that is a third or less of the total number.

Pennsylvania

The Tour Guide Office keeps track of the number of Capitol guests provided a guided tour. In 1999, 90,175 people were accommodated. It is estimated that over 250,000 visit the Capitol yearly.

Tennessee

The number of visitors is unknown.

Texas

Information and Guide Services records indicate an average of 200,000 official tours of the Capitol. Estimates are that another 200,000 tour independently.

Utah

In 2002, 181,346 visitors came to our capitol compared to 85,152 visitors in 2001. This increase is due to the large number of visitors during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, the Declaration of Independence Road Trip Exhibit, and other special exhibits. Visitors to legislative meetings and sessions are not counted.

Vermont

Year-round, our visitation is quite high-roughly 100,000 tourists, students, etc.

Virginia

Approximately 100,000 people visit the Virginia State Capitol annually.

Washington

Last year we accommodated over 80,000 on a guided tour of our capitol.

Wisconsin

Large numbers of school groups visit the Capitol. An exact number is not known. Best guess is would be 30K on actual tours.

Wyoming

The official visitor count for the Information Desk in the Capitol averages approximately 22 to 25,000 annually. This doesn't include everyone who enters the building, just the "tourist" traffic. Approximately 800 school students make official tours of the Capitol annually.

Question 3.

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | California | Connecticut | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Illinois | Kansas | Maine | Minnesota | Missouri | Nebraska | New Jersey | New Mexico | Oklahoma | Pennsylvania | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | Wisconsin | Wyoming

Do you use paid, professional guides for your capitol tours or do you rely on volunteers?

State

Response

Alabama

Both--Historical Commission volunteers conduct capitol tours. Paid staff conduct state house tours.

Alaska

We have paid summer tour guides (usually students).

Arizona

We use both professional guides and volunteers.

California

There are several private entities that coordinate tours of the State Capitol.

Connecticut

There are three paid staff who administer the program, book tours, answer questions, do research, train volunteers and also give tours. Approximately 20 "professional" volunteers also give tours.

Florida

The Visitor's Convention Bureau's/Welcome center staff give guided tours of the capitol.

Georgia

Yes.

Hawaii

Paid professionals out of the Governor's Office of Information.

Illinois

All tour guides are paid staff members.

Kansas

There are paid guides in the statehouse. At this time there is not a volunteer program. This is part of the future planning and is expected to be ready for the 1999 Legislative Session.

Maine

I have one paid tour guide for 20 hours per week. Other staff fill for special groups as needed. Today I am giving a tour myself - 4 guests from Russia.

Minnesota

All guides are paid, professional staff (most are considered part-time, 20-30 hours per week).

Missouri

We use paid professional tour guides in the Missouri Capitol. The tour staff consists of 4 full time guides, one full time supervisor and between 8 and 12 part time guides. We are currently in the process of revising our tour format due to the large number of school groups who visit each spring.

Nebraska

Nebraska uses paid, professional guides to conduct the tours, while volunteers staff the Capitol information desk during public hours. The tour guides are paid employees under the direction of the Department of Administrative Services.

New Jersey

The Tour Office includes two full-time professional staff members and two hourly staff, all of whom assist with leading tours. Over 55 percent of all guided tours are conducted by trained volunteer guides.

New Mexico

All of the guides at the capital are hired by the legislative council service. There are also tour groups that have their own tour leaders which come to the capitol.

Oklahoma

We have one full-time paid guide who is the manager of the visitors' center, three part-time paid guides, and 5 - 6 unpaid volunteers.

Pennsylvania

Paid, professional guides.

Tennessee

Paid, professional tour guides are used.

Texas

Yes, we have paid tour guides. Tour guides are part-time students. They are given intensive training in basic history, the legislative process and information on the building. They are paid based on tenure and language skills.

Utah

All capitol tour guides are volunteers with the exception of the capitol guide manager and her part time assistant who train all of the capitol tour guide volunteers.

Vermont

We use volunteer tour guides throughout the year. From July through October they give tours every half-hour from 10:00 to 4:00, Saturdays 11:00 to 3:00. The rest of the year they give tours that are scheduled in advance.

Virginia

Capitol Tour Guides are paid professionals.

Washington

Paid, professional guides.

Wisconsin

The Department of Administration hires students who are trained on the "building" to conduct tours.

Wyoming

I am the only paid tour guide in the Capitol. We have used other part-time paid staff previously. We have also used volunteers. We currently are working with our local Community College and have developed an un-paid internship program that includes opportunities to create and deliver educational tours and programs for visitors to the Capitol for college credit.

Question 4.

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Connecticut | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Illinois | Kansas | Maine | Minnesota | Missouri | Nebraska | New Jersey | New Mexico | Oklahoma | Pennsylvania | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | Wisconsin | Wyoming

Have you found ways to emphasize civic education (rather than the building and its art and architecture) in your tour guide programs. (For example, Ohio tailors guided tours of the capitol to specific groups and topics-some tours are designed to help certain grade levels pass statewide proficiency tests in civics, government and history.)

State

Response

Alabama

Yes, through "How A Bill Becomes Law" and other handouts.

Alaska

No.

Arizona

Including the original executive offices and legislative chambers allows the guides to explain the governmental process to tourists.

Connecticut

Yes, since their inception almost 28 years ago, tours have focused on the legislative process and helping citizens understand their government. Starting in a public hearing/committee room, we explain how a bill becomes a law - from the idea, through the committee/public hearing process, to votes in the House and Senate and signing by the Governor. Then we visit the chambers. Along the way we include tidbits on CT. history and info on the art and architecture. We change the focus of the tour upon request, but have found that even groups that request an architectural tour are interested in the legislative process too.

Florida

The Welcome Center tries to give the public a basic information on government and the legislative process. The House of Representatives allows usage of the Chamber by groups for educational purposes when it is not in session. School groups, as well as 4-H, YMCA, Girl's State, Boy's State, and the Silver-haired Legislature use these facilities.

Georgia

Yes, The State Tour Guide is responsible for this function.

Hawaii

Am not certain.

Illinois

The guide lecture is more about things than ideas.

Kansas

This will be included in future planning by the State Historical Society.

Maine

No.

Minnesota

The Minnesota History and Government Learning Center supports research; develops resource materials and workshops for public and nonpublic high school students, university interns, and teachers. The Legislature meets the first months of each year. The Supreme Court hears cases in its historic chambers on the first week of the month. During sessions, all galleries and legislative hearings are open to the public.

Missouri

The main emphasis of our standard tour is the history and art of the building. The legislative process is also discussed, but mainly in the visitor's gallery of the House of Representatives.

Nebraska

The tour guides presently emphasize the building and its art and architecture. Many of the school groups touring the capitol during the session do observe the Legislature in session from the balcony areas. Civic education will be an emphasis once the Warner Legislative Chamber is completed and available to groups.

The Legislature's Information Office does have a tape titled, "How a Bill Becomes a Law" available upon request for viewing at schools or other locations. Legislative hearing rooms are also used by senators to talk to visiting school children from their districts. (Sometimes, the video is shown to the children at this time.)

New Jersey

The mission of the Tour Office is to teach the legislative process. Therefore, all tours emphasize civics over art and architecture. This approach is further justified by extensive visitor surveys, which overwhelmingly call for information on government and de-emphasize the importance of the building and its restoration.

New Mexico

Tour guides discuss the building and the art and answer questions that are asked, many of which are questions about how the legislature operates. There is by necessity some civic education, visitors are shown the house and senate chambers, they are told when the legislature meets, the number of legislators, how long NM has been a state, etc. People only interested in the art work of the capitol can be given a tour by the person who is in charge of the art collection at the capitol.

Oklahoma

All tours are tailored to the group. Most tours are school children, but there are also many seniors groups and even international tours.

Pennsylvania

Yes. Over the past five years the guided tour of the Capitol has been improved to include the structure of state government and the legislative process. Guests are encouraged to visit the Welcome Center, which is a self-guided facility offering 18 exhibits on Pennsylvania and the legislative process. Legislators provide packets of information on state government for their tour guests. Educational videotapes are also available through the legislature. Legislative Data Processing offers a website offering on-line information. The address is http://www.legis.state.pa.us/.

Tennessee

The tour given is somewhat balanced in that it includes a little of the history of the building as well as information on the composition of the legislature, etc.

Texas

We have not emphasized civic education at this time but it is certainly a good idea. The tour guides can tailor their tours to meet the needs of specific groups, although I don't believe that it's done to the degree Ohio does it.

Utah

Some capitol tours are customized, at their pre-arranged request, but in general, tour guides mainly address the history of the building, its art, and architecture. To ensure accuracy, statistical information regarding the legislative, executive, and judicial branches is updated yearly or more often if necessary.

Vermont

We emphasize civics education with our school groups--it's a very different tour than that which is geared to the tourists. If teachers communicate special needs or topics to us in advance, we attempt to address those in a tour. But we have not developed a curriculum as such.

Virginia

Chamber Presentations provide students and groups with a hands-on learning experience about the Virginia General Assembly and the legislative process. The House LEAD Office and the Senate LINCS Office manage the Chamber Presentations and offer publications by request.

Visitors can also tour the Capitol and Capitol Grounds at the Virginia State Capitol Web site: http://virginiacapitol.gov/

Washington

Welcome Center, again. Verbal tour includes state government structure.

Wisconsin

Civic education has not been included at this time. One of the videos is "How a Bill Becomes a Law" and emphasis citizen participation.

Wyoming

We offer a variety of types of tours to groups that request tour guide services, including special age appropriate tours for students, historical tours, architectural tours, etc. ALL of our guided tours are pre-reserved programs so that the sponsor has the opportunity to help design their tour to their needs.

Question 5.

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Connecticut | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Illinois | Kansas | Maine | Minnesota | Missouri | Nebraska | New Jersey | New Mexico | Oklahoma | Pennsylvania | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | Wisconsin | Wyoming

What agencies administer the visitor and civic education functions in your capitol or legislative building?

State

Response

Alabama

Several entities conduct tours. We need consolidation.

Alaska

Visitor - Personnel Section; Civic Education - Legislative Information Offices-21 statewide offices, information officers go to the schools and also community meetings to let students and community members know about the legislative process and the services provided by their local Legislative Information Office.

Arizona

The capitol museum and tours are administered by the Department of Library, Archives and Public Records.

Connecticut

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut Education Fund, Inc. oversees the operation of Capitol Information and Tours. The Joint Committee on Legislative Management, CT General Assembly, funds it.

Florida

The Visit Florida/Florida Tourism Corp., a private agency, runs the Welcome Center and it is regulated under the Governor of Florida.

Georgia

The Secretary of State Office.

Hawaii

Governor's Office of Information.

Illinois

Secretary of State.

Kansas

The Kansas State Historical Society.

Maine

Office of the Clerk of the House, Office of the Secretary of the Senate, Ex Dir., Legislative Council work jointly on these issues.

Minnesota

The Minnesota History and Government Learning Center is cosponsored by the Minnesota historical society, the board of trustees of the Minnesota state colleges and universities, and the Minnesota state board of education.

Missouri

Visitor services are administered by the Missouri State Museum which is a facility of the Department of Natural Resources' Division of State Parks.

Nebraska

Management of the Capitol comes under the jurisdiction of the State Building Division of the Department of Administrative Services.

New Jersey

The Office of Legislative Services, a non-partisan agency of the Legislature, oversees the State House Tour Program.

New Mexico

The legislative council service employs the people who give tours, information, care for the art collection, provide security and maintain the capitol building.

Oklahoma

The Visitors' Center is operated by the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation. The various tenants (Governor, Legislature, Attorney General, etc.) each occasionally has programs for specific groups.

Pennsylvania

Many different agencies are involved in civic education functions. For example, the legislature employees the tour guides and maintains the Welcome Center. The Department of General Services coordinates events in the buildings, in conjunction with other executive departments, the legislature and the public.

Tennessee

The Tennessee State Museum provides the tour guides, while the facilities are maintained by our department of General Services.

Texas

The Information and Guide Services office is funded jointly by the Senate and House with administration of the office under the Secretary of the Senate. We have proposed that in the next biennium funding and supervision of the office be transferred to the State Preservation Board.

Utah

The Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau is responsible for tour guides in our capitol (801) 534-4901. The Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel coordinates civic education events such as America's Legislators Back to School Week, 4-H conferences, researching legislative history seminars, and presentations on the legislative process.

Vermont

The Vermont State House is managed by the Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms. They book tours and assist with administration. But the true responsibility for administering the educational programming at the State House rests with the Curator of State Buildings. He plans in consultation with the Education Committee of the Friends of the Vermont State House, a private nonprofit. The Friends sponsor the volunteer-run tour guide service as well as our gift shop, Under the Dome Gifts.

Virginia

The House and Senate Clerks’ Offices administer the visitor and civic education functions. The Division of Legislative Services manages the Capitol Tour Guides.

Washington

Legislative branch of government.

Wisconsin

The Department of Administration coordinates tour schedule and pays for the guides. The Clerk's Office will provide guided tours upon request for Legislators.

Wyoming

The Information Service at the state Capitol is administered by the Department of Information and Administration, General Services Division.

Question 6.

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | California | Connecticut | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Illinois | Kansas | Maine | Minnesota | Missouri | Nebraska | New Jersey | New Mexico | Oklahoma | Pennsylvania | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | Wisconsin | Wyoming

Does your capitol/legislative building have a gift shop? If so, who administers it? What types of items are offered for sale?

State

Response

Alabama

Yes, Alabama Historical Commission.

Alaska

Not a gift shop exactly - our summer tour guides sell pins and postcards. The Personnel Section administers.

Arizona

Yes. The Department of Library, Archives and Public Records run the capitol gift shop which sells souvenirs, books, artwork, etc.

California

There is a gift shop in the basement that sells souvenirs and other related items.

Connecticut

There is a dry newsstand in the LOB, which has newspapers, snacks and souvenirs. It is operated by the Board of Education Services for the Blind. The League of Women Voters also sells Capitol pens, flags, a coloring book on CT. government and a book on CT. civil war battle flags.

Florida

The gift shop is a part of the office of the Secretary of State. T-shirts, items bearing the state seal, lapel pins, pens, books, etc., are available for purchase.

Georgia

Yes, The Georgia Co-Op for blind.

Hawaii

The capitol has a snack shop that has gift-shop-like items (i.e., postcards, pens) that is run by blind vendors, as are all shops in public buildings in Hawaii.

Illinois

There is a newsstand for mainly snacks, newspapers and magazines. Post cards and other memorabilia related to the Capitol are also sold there. The vendor is selected through the visually handicapped program.

Kansas

Our gifts are contained in a display case and administered by the Historical Society. Items we sell include Christmas tree decorations, magnets, pins, paperweights, china plates, china cups, books, bookmarks, cloth sunflowers and a few Kansas-made items. Plans for a gift shop are being reviewed.

Maine

No. The state museum has a gift shop (located next to the capitol). They sell small gifts and novelty items with a Maine theme.

Minnesota

No capitol gift shop, though the tour guides on the 1st floor sell postcards. The Minnesota History and Government Learning Center is located three blocks from the capitol and has a large gift shop.

Missouri

We have a small gift shop comprised of three display cases. We feature books about Missouri, post cards of the local area, lapel pins with the state seal or the outline of the state, miniature state flag, a state puzzle and two commemorative silver coins.

Nebraska

Yes, the Nebraska State Capitol Capitol does have a gift shop, named "The Spirit of the Prairie." The shop sells t-shirts, jewelry, postcards, books by Nebraska authors, cards, crafts, University of Nebraska items, coffee mugs, and seasonal items.

New Jersey

A small coffee shop offers postcards to interested patrons. The planned Welcome Center includes provisions for a fully equipped gift shop. Administrative provisions for the shop have still to be worked out.

New Mexico

No the capitol building does not have a gift shop. Most of our museums do, but there is not a great deal of New Mexico state government memorabilia sold here. If I can help you further, please let me know.

Oklahoma

There is no gift shop in the Capitol Building although the snack bar, which is privately operated, carries some souvenirs. There is a gift shop operated by the Oklahoma Historical Society-a state agency-in their building across the street which houses the state museum.

Pennsylvania

The Capitol Shop was opened Spring 2000. It is administered by the Friends of the State Museum. The shop offers a variety of items relating to Pennsylvania, such as, but not limited to, logo-imprinted clothing, pins, cups, books, pens/pencils.

Tennessee

Our Capitol does not have a gift shop.

Texas

We have two gift shops, one in the Capitol Extension, the other in the Capitol Visitors Center. Both are administered by the State Preservation Board (and are quite profitable). Items offered include books, pens, cards, puzzles, Capitol Christmas ornaments designed by Nelda Laney (these are the big money makers), calendars, sweatshirts and T-shirts (kids and adults), state pins, a small amount of basic drug items (aspirin, antacids, etc.) Prices range from cheap to pricey.

Utah

The gift shop, Salt Lake To Go, is managed by the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau. Located on the first floor of the capitol building, it offers an interesting variety of Utah specific souvenir items.

Vermont

Yes we have had a gift shop for the last ten years. During the tour season, the shop is located just off the main lobby in a Senate committee room. When the legislature is in session they occupy a gift cart that is centrally located and can be moved around on wheels. Under the Dome Gifts is run entirely by volunteers and is sponsored by a private non-profit organization, the Friends of the Vermont State House. All profits support ongoing restoration as well as education programs. Products range from specific State House souvenirs and books to Vermont gifts, craft items and items specifically for school students (rulers, pencils and pens, puzzles, etc.)

Virginia

The Capitol Shop is operated by the Library of Virginia and is located in the Capitol Extension. Merchandise includes Virginia books, prints, mugs, and Virginia-made products such as soaps, lotion, jewelry, foods, and coffee.

Washington

Not yet. Presently being considered.

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin State Capitol does not have a gift shop.

Wyoming

There are no commercial activities permitted on the Wyoming State Capitol Grounds. Currently there are no state authorized gift shops in the Capitol complex. The Wyoming State Museum will be opening a small shop in the new museum facility when it opens in January. The shop will carry a selection of educational materials, mostly books, and a small selection of moderately priced souvenir items at their location in the Herschler State Office Building immediately adjacent to the Capitol.

Please send inquires to:

National Conference of State Legislatures
7700 East First Place
Denver, CO 80230
Tel. (303) 364-7700 Fax (303) 364-7800
trust@ncsl.org

Information Compiled Fall, 1998
File updated May 7, 2003