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Each year, the Rhode Island Historical Society features a new programming theme, allowing the organization to explore a compelling aspect of the state’s history through its events, lectures, partnerships, and initiatives. In 2016, it was fashion. The year before, design. Today, the RIHS officially announced 2017’s theme: Relishing Rhode Island, serving up plenty of events to go around, with dozens plated already and many more on the burner.

The coming year will also include collaborations with the Smithsonian Institution, the Tomaquag Museum, RI Latino Arts, Historic New England, Gracie’s, Coggeshall Farm, the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society, as well as the statewide marketing initiative A La Rhody alongside the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, Discover Newport, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, the Providence Public Library, and the Providence Department of Arts, Culture + Tourism.

From baking to brewing, maple syrup to neighborhood markets, herb hikes to ice harvesting, the RIHS will have something for every foodie, epicurean, and gourmand across the state. Events, including walking tours and educational talks, will be added and updated here!

 


February 28, 5:30-7pm
Learning from The American Frugal Housewife Cookbook
Aldrich House (110 Benevolent St., Providence)

Katy O’Neill-Day discusses etiquette, recipes, and life lessons from the popular 1829 book by Lydia Marie Child.

Free program; register online here.


March 4, 10am-Noon
Traditional Maple Sugaring at Coggeshall Farm Museum
Coggeshall Farm Museum (1 Colt Dr., Bristol)

Learn about the process of making maple syrup, and enjoy pouring it over delicious hearth-cooked French toast! Max. 12 people.

Tickets: $10 general, $8 RIHS & Coggeshall members. Reservations required, purchase tickets online here.


March 12, 1:30pm
Valley Talks: Civil War Encampments
Museum of Work & Culture (42 S. Main St., Woonsocket)

Civil War reenactor Paul Bourget will discuss the details of daily life and Civil War camps, with a special focus on food. Visitors will have the opportunity to sample hardtack, the most popular ration of the period.


March 16, 6pm

Museum of Work & Culture’s “A Moveable Feast” Moves to Ciro’s Tavern
Ciro’s Tavern on Cherry (42 Cherry St., Woonsocket)

St. Patrick’s Festivities including great Irish sing-alongs and ballads, dancers from the award-winning Tir na Nog school of Irish dance, and a buffet dinner featuring shepherd’s pie, corned beef & cabbage, soda bread, potato soup, and a green cocktail!

Tickets: $45, purchase tickets online here.


March 26, 1:30pm

Salute to Spring~Bonjour Printemps
Museum of Work & Culture (42 S. Main St., Woonsocket)

Join the Museum of Work & Culture for an afternoon celebrating French Canadian culture. The day will include our premiere statewide poutine competition. Chefs from across the state will compete to see who makes the best version of the traditional Québecois dish of French fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds. Entertainment will include performances by Franco-American singer and songwriter, Josée Vachon, the presentation of Le gout d’un pays, a documentary film on maple sugaring, and more.

Tickets: $15 adults, $8 children 12 & under, free for children 3 and under. Purchase tickets online here.


March 28, 5:30-7pm
The Journey of the Johnny Cake: Demo & Talk by Loren Spears, Tomaquag Museum
Aldrich House (110 Benevolent St., Providence)

Loren Spears, Executive Director of the Tomaquag Museum, will give a talk and demonstration of the Rhode Island “Johnny Cake,” originally called a “Journey Cake” by Rhode Island’s indigenous tribes. Come hear about how the “Johnny Cake,” has evolved and witness a demonstration (and taste) of how it’s made. Max 25 people.

Free program; register online here.


April 1, 10am-1pm
Coggeshall Hearth Cooking
Coggeshall Farm Museum (1 Colt Dr., Bristol)

RIHS and Coggeshall invite participants to enjoy this opportunity to make a complete meal from scratch, cooked over Coggeshall’s 1799 farmhouse hearth. Max. 12 people.

Tickets: $65 general, $60 RIHS/Coggeshall members. Reservations required; purchase tickets online here.


April 19, 6-8pm
2017 Goff Lecture Series featuring Susan Evans
“Food at the Nation’s History Museum: Seeing Yourself America’s Past, Present, and Future”
Aldrich House (110 Benevolent St., Providence)

Susan Evans, Director, Smithsonian Food History Programs at the National Museum of American History, will talk about their food activities, collections, and how food works as an educational tool for connecting audiences with history.

Free program; register online here.


May 8 and 22, 6:30-8pm
Learn, Save & Write Family Food History with Photo Detective Maureen Taylor
Providence Public Library (150 Empire St., Providence)

Learn how to write your own family food memoir in this two-part workshop series. Presented by the RIHS and Providence Public Library’s “Diggin’ Your Roots” genealogy workshop series.

Free program; register online here.


May 17, 6:30pm

Fefa’s Market: The Bodega Corner Store at Hub of Early R.I. Latino Community
Providence Public Library (150 Empire St., Providence)

Marta Martinez speaks about the significance of the “bodega” neighborhood corner store. She tells the story of Fefa’s Market, the first Latino bodega in Rhode Island, and how it helped to strengthen a community.

Free program; register online here


May 20, 11am-12:30pm
Dining With History Walking Tour
Downtown Providence, starting location Roger Williams National Memorial (282 N. Main St.)

From the beginning, Providence has been a “food town.” Walk downtown and learn some of the significant spots for food history, learn stories of the past, and get recommendations for delicious dinner places.

Tickets here: http://www.shop-rihs.com/item/may-dining-with-history-walking-tour


June 13, 5:30-7pm
History Crawl
Downtown Providence, starting location New Harvest Coffee & Spirits at the Arcade

Learn about some of Downtown Providence’s restaurants and the buildings they occupy … and enjoy samples!


June 10, 2-3:30pm
History & Herb Hike
Casey Farm (2325 Boston Neck Rd., Saunderstown)

Join Historic New England, the RIHS, and a professional herbalist for a walk through Casey Farm and its beautiful, wooded trails. Discover the history of this landscape from the 17th century to today. Learn about the farm’s wide variety of herbs and their benefits. Hike meets at the cow barn. Includes admission for a tour of the historic farmhouse. Join Historic New England, the Rhode Island Historical society, and professional herbalist for a walk through Casey Farm and its beautiful wooded trails. Discover the history of this landscape from the seventeenth century to today. Learn about the farm’s wide variety of herbs and their benefits. Hike meets at the cow barn. Includes admission for a tour of the historic farmhouse. Tours led by Jane Hennedy, Site Manager, and Kristin Minto, Herbalist.

$15 general public, $10 residents of N. Kingstown, $5 for Members of RIHS or Historic New England. Pre-register for this program here


June 22, 5:30-7pm
The African American Church Potluck Tradition
Aldrich House (110 Benevolent St., Providence)

The RIHS and the Rhode Island Black Heritage present a program exploring the history, traditions, and foodways of the African American church. Learn the traditional dishes, and how food helped to also tie together these faith communities in difficult times, or in joyous times.

Free program; register online here.


July 18, 5:30-7pm
Food Sovereignty by Tomaquag Museum
Aldrich House (110 Benevolent St., Providence)

The RIHS hosts Loren Spears, Executive Director of the Tomaquag Museum, to speak about indigenous peoples and the issue of food sovereignty. Learn about the current, crucial issues surrounding indigenous food sovereignty and how that has changed and evolved over time.

Free program; register online here.


September 15, 6-8pm
Sabor Latino: National Hispanic Month Kick-Off
Aldrich House (110 Benevolent St., Providence)

Savor the many flavors, or sabores, of Rhode Island’s Latino cultures and community in this special event and fundraiser for RIHS and RI Latino Arts as a kick-off to Hispanic Heritage Month.


September 16, 11am-12:30pm
Dining with History Walk
Downtown Providence, starting location TBA

Learn about the foodways of Providence through the ages, including recommendations for restaurants for dinner following the tour (dinner is on your own!). Register with jwilson@rihs.org.


September 16, 2-4pm
Preserving the Harvest
Casey Farm (2325 Boston Neck Rd., Saunderstown)

Learn the ways our ancestors saved the bounty through canning, pickling, freezing, drying, and fermenting. Expert teachers from the Coastal Growers’ Market and Casey Farm will guide you in trying your hand at some of these methods, adapted for today’s home cook, using local produce. Maximum 20 participants, register early!

$20 general public, $15 members of RIHS or Historic New England. Pre-register for this event here


October 10, 5:30-7pm
History Crawl
Downtown Providence, starting location New Harvest Coffee & Spirits at the Arcade

This walking tour pairs restaurants in Downtown Providence with a casual history of the historic buildings and a sampling of the restaurant’s fare.


October 14, 10am-Noon
History & Herb Hike at Arnold House
Arnold House (487 Great Rd., Lincoln)

Walk through the beautiful, rolling trails of Lincoln and learn about its history-filled landscape from the 1600s to today. Herbalist Maureen Lapre identifies various herbs and explains their benefits over the centuries. Tours begin at Arnold House and travel through Gateway Park to Chase Farm Park and back again. Includes admission to Arnold House.

$15 public, $10 residents, free for members. Pre-register for this program here


October 15, 5-10pm
Dinner at Gracie’s
Gracie’s Restaurant (194 Washington St., Providence)

Gracie’s is recreating a dinner menu from our collections as a fundraiser for the RIHS.  Wine pairings by Bottles!


October 17, 5:30-7pm
Jewish food: Noshing around Rhode Island
Aldrich House (110 Benevolent Street, Providence, RI)

Nosh is a Yiddish word that means to eat a small amount of food happily. Hear the personal stories of Rhode Islanders who have shaped the nature of Jewish food in Rhode Island.  This program is presented by the Rhode Island Historical Society and the Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association.

Free program; register online here.


October 28, 10am-Noon
Family Cookbook Workshop
Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center (121 Hope St., Providence)

In this workshop, you’ll learn ways to create a beautiful book using your family recipes, photos, and memories. This program is part of the Diggin’ Your Roots genealogy series collaboration between the RIHS and the Providence Public Library. Instructor: Michelle Chiles, Robinson Research Center, RIHS. Max 20 people.

Free program; register online here.


November 4, 10am-1pm
Coggeshall Garden to Hearth to Table Workshop
Coggeshall Farm (1 Colt Dr., Bristol)

The RIHS, in collaboration with Coggeshall Farm Museum, will give participants the opportunity to make a complete meal from the garden from scratch and share it with friends, cooked from the hearth right in Coggeshall’s 1799 farmhouse. Max. 12 people.

Tickets: $65 general, $60 RIHS/Coggeshall members. Registration required; pre-register online here.


November 8, 5:30-8pm
RIHS Annual Meeting
Aldrich House (110 Benevolent St., Providence)

The 196th RIHS Annual Meeting will feature a speaker who will discuss Rhode Island’s foodways. More information to come.


November 30, 5:30-7pm
Early New England Ice Harvesting
Aldrich House (110 Benevolent St., Providence)

A collaboration w/ Historic New England and Old Colony Historical Museum, this talk by Jane Hennedy about “Early New England Ice Harvesting” will help to break the ice on the process that early New Englanders had to endure in order to keep their food cold. Learn some of the specialty food items that came out of this process and became popular staples of the American diet.

Free program; register online here.


 [RESCHEDULED DATE TBD]
African American Food: Then and Now
Aldrich House (110 Benevolent St., Providence)

Learn about the historic staple foods brought over by Africans, and how it has evolved over the ages. Witness the difference between the origin of food as medicine and how it transformed into something quite different.

Free program; register online here.