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Student Handbook


Student groups are welcome at the State House and encouraged to schedule a guided tour any time during the academic year. Tours are conducted beginning at 9 A.M. through 12 P.M. Monday through Friday. To schedule a visit to the State House, teachers are asked to contact the Secretary of State's Office, 222-2357.


The State House was built in 1895. It has 327,000 cubic feet of white Georgia marble; 15 million bricks and 1,309 tons of iron floor beams.

The State House holds the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State and General Treasurer and the meeting chambers of the Senate and House of Representatives, along with other offices of state government.

The Independent Man atop the State House is a gold-covered, bronze statue. The Independent Man weighs more than 500 pounds and stands 11 feet high. The tip of the spear he is holding reaches 14 feet. The Independent Man was designed by sculpture George Brewster and symbolizes the independent spirit which led Roger Williams to settle here.

In the Rotunda, the large round central portion of the State House, is the seal of the State of Rhode Island. The middle of the seal is an anchor and above the anchor is the word "Hope."

Looking straight up from the seal, you see the dome, the fourth largest unsupported marble dome in the world. It is 50 feet in diameter at its widest point.

Painted on the dome is a mural designed by Scituate artist James Allen King and depicting four aspects of the lives of the early settlers: The Land Grant; Religious Tolerance; Pioneering and the Origins of Construction; Beginnings of Industry.

The State Room is the first room of the Executive Chamber and the Governor's offices. In the State Room are some important Rhode Island treasurers, including Gilbert Stuart's famous painting of George Washington; a silver set from the battleship the USS Rhode Island; a piece of moon rock.

The State House Library on the second floor contains important US Government documents and information about Rhode Island history and politics.

The Senate Chamber is the gathering place for Rhode Island's 38 elected Senators.

The House of Representatives is the gathering place for Rhode Island's 75 elected Representatives.

In the entrance foyer to the State House is a reproduction of the original Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, PA. It was donated to the state by the U.S. Treasury Department in 1950, when Harry S Truman was president.

Also in the entrance foyer is the Gettysburg Gun, a cannon last fired during the 1863 Civil War battle in Gettysburg, PA. It still has stuck in its muzzle a cannonball that was being loaded by soldiers of Rhode Island's Light Artillery First Regiment, Battery B.

To the right of the House of Representatives entrance is another bell, this one used on the battleship USS Rhode Island, which was first launched in 1904.

Around the second floor of the State House are six marble statues, sculpted in Rome and commemorating the end of World War II. They represent different branches of the military - paratrooper, engineer, plane spotter, infantryman, aviator and seaman Marine.

Outside the entrance to the Senate is a vault containing the Royal Charter of 1663. The Royal Charter came from King Charles II of England and guaranteed Rhode Island settlers freedom of religion and freedom to govern their own colony.

© 2007 State of Rhode Island General Assembly. All Rights Reserved.