Visit Harrisburg For Tour of Historic Capitol Building
The Pennsylvania State Capitol has a lot to offer. Not only is it where state lawmakers develop, debate, and pass legislation, there’s also a lot of history there. Guided tours are offered every day, and although you may spend a few hours in the car to get there, building officials say the trip is well worth it.
“This basically is known as the palace of art. You’re not going to find architecture, artwork anywhere else around here. It’s really one of the best capitols in the United States,” says Jill Fetter, Director of Capitol Visitor Services. “Any day you get to visit the capitol is a good day,” she adds.
Fetter has been a tour guide for 20 years, and the Director for the past 9 years. Capitol tours last about half an hour, depending on the size of the group, and what rooms are available to see. But no matter the day, you’re sure to gain a wealth of knowledge.
“We start in the main rotunda with a little bit of Pennsylvania history and history of the building. We’ll then go upstairs to the Senate, we’ll go into the House of Representatives, and if it’s available, we also go into the Supreme Court room,” Fetter explains.
Guided tours of the Capitol building are completely free. They’re offered every half hour, Monday through Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm, and on the weekends at 9:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, and 3:00pm One room that’s not on the guided tour, but visitors are encouraged to check out, is the Senate Library.
“No other place in the state focuses on the history of the senate, the history of the senator, the legislation that happens here, this is a piece of history you wont get anywhere else,” says Sarah Greenwald, a Legislative Assistant and Senate Library Exhibition Coordinator.
The Senate Library usually features a themed exhibit. The exhibition on right now is a reflective exhibit that remembers and memorializes State Senators who saw service during war. That exhibition will be on display until September, when a new one will be put up.
Self-guided tours are available on the weekdays as well. There’s even an app you can download on your phone to help you along the way, just search Tour the PA Capitol in your app store.
“Definitely take the time to come visit us. As I said, it’s a half hour, it’s a free tour, it’s well worth your time and your effort. And we’d love to have you visit us,” Fetter says.
You can book a tour ahead of time by going online to www.pacapitol.com/plan-a-visit/tours.cfm, or by calling the Tour Guide Office at 1-800-TOUR-N-PA (868-7672).