Exploring the Virginia State Capitol
Recently several representatives from New Kent County Public Schools traveled to Richmond to meet with the Governor's Secretary of Commerce and Trade (Mr. Maurice Jones) and the Governor’s Director of STEM (Dr. Megan Healy) to discuss the skills students need for the future workforce. The conversation centered around technology skills to meet the growing demand for a workforce that “needs to be comfortable working with robots” The visit was successful for the goal and for the learning that takes place when we are in interesting surroundings.
We did our research to prepare for the visit with Google, of course. The Governor of Virginia has a Cabinet, just like the President of the United States, and Secretary Jones is a member of that Cabinet. He advises the Governor on the economic, community, and workforce development of Virginia. One of the Departments that Secretary Jones oversees is the
Virginia Employment Commision. Dr. Healy advises the Governor on both STEM jobs and STEM in education around the State. These offices are a part of the Executive branch of Virginia’s government.
The Virginia Capitol and Capitol Square are impressive places that are only 30 minutes from New Kent County. They are, however, not visible from the street.
We learn a lot of Virginia History in school but can you point out buildings and landmarks when you drive by them? Who works in those really old buildings and why are the people walking around dressed up? These are some questions young students might ask if you visit Richmond. Older students might ask, what are these old buildings and where is the Governor’s House?
The capitol grounds are many government buildings on a hill bordered by Broad Street, 9th Street, Bank Street and 14th Streets. The Capitol Building is only visible from Bank Street. It was renovated in 2007 and has an entrance on the street that leads underground to the Capitol. It was designed by Thomas Jefferson and looks a little like the design of the White House in Washington, DC. The whole lawn on the Bank Street side of the Capitol building is a “green roof”. The huge fence that surrounds Capitol Square was set in granite stone in 1818. All of the buildings in the yellow boundary of the picture below are a part of Capitol Square. The Governor’s Mansion is only visible by walking the Capitol Grounds and is opposite the Patrick Henry Building which houses the offices of the Executive Branch of the State Government. The Governor can walk to work on this beautiful and historic ground. The ornate lobby in the huge Gothic style building known as the “Old City Hall Building” is open to the public.For safety reasons, all of the buildings are only accessible from inside Capitol Square.
For a taste of history take a virtual tour of the Capitol Square
Resources for students:
Learn more about Virginia State Government: http://www.virginia.gov/government
Kids.gov is a great site for many subjects and the government in general. Great video’s too.
The challenge: explore more about Richmond history from a capitol walking tour ,it is only 30 minutes away, it’s free, interesting and not digital!
*Pictures from Google Earth, VA Department of General services, and the VA Capitol Foundation.