PROVIDENCE, R.I. (May 13, 2008) – Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is offering Rhode Islanders with a yen for public service the chance to be a State House tour guide.
“This is an opportunity to see the State House up close as few people have ever seen it. Become a tour guide and make a lasting impression in your community or on your career,” Mollis said.
The Secretary of State’s office offers the public free guided-tours of the State House year-round. The volunteer tour guides range in age from young people looking for job experience to senior citizens hoping to get involved in a worthwhile endeavor.
“For students, being a tour guide helps them build a resume and make contacts that will be invaluable when they enter the workforce,” Mollis said. “Older Rhode Islanders enjoy sharing their view of Rhode Island history with visitors as they lead them through the State House.”
Every volunteer is thoroughly trained by the Secretary of State’s experienced staff. The tours are popular with youngsters, tourists and day-trippers. More than 10,000 school children are expected to the visit the State House through the end of the academic year in June.
“It is important to preserve and discuss the history of our road to independence. This future generation of citizens must know our past in order to have the insight they will need to be tomorrow’s leaders of our state and our country,” Mollis said.
The tour includes stops in the Bell Room, where Rhode Island’s replica of the Philadelphia Liberty Bell is displayed; the State Room, where Gilbert Stuart’s famous portrait of George Washington hangs; and the Rotunda, where visitors can gaze upward at one of the world’s largest unsupported domes.
Tour-goers even get a peek at one of the state’s most historic documents – the Royal Charter of 1663. Granted by King Charles II, the charter guaranteed Rhode Island settlers freedom of religion and the freedom to govern their own colony.
“I think people are surprised to learn Rhode Island may have inspired the Bill of Rights years later. I hope exposure to documents like this will inspire students to learn more and aspire to be better citizens,” said Mollis.
Built between 1895 and 1904, the State House has 327,000 cubic feet of white Georgia marble and 15 million bricks. The 5-story structure is home to the Governor, Lt. Governor, General Treasurer and the General Assembly as well as the Secretary of State.
Secretary of State Mollis is committed to making it easier to vote, helping businesses grow and making government more open and accessible. For more information about becoming a tour guide, contact the Secretary of State’s office at (401) 222-3983 or www.sec.state.ri.us.