RIHS to Celebrate Holidays With Open House, Santa’s Workshop at MoWC

The Rhode Island Historical Society invites the community to visit the Museum of Work & Culture on Saturday, Dec. 1, 1-5pm, for the organization’s annual Holiday Open House, offered as part of Woonsocket’s Main Street Holiday Stroll. The day will feature a variety of holiday-themed activities for adults and families alik

R.I. Historical Society Names Becca Bender as Film Archivist

After an extensive national search, the Rhode Island Historical Society has announced the appointment of Becca Bender as Film Archivist & Curator of Recorded Media, a new position that will advance the RIHS’s mission to promote and preserve its collection of more than 9 million feet of moving image film and well over 2,000 sound recordings, from oral history projects to jazz performances.

RIHS Receives IMLS Grant for Staff and Volunteer Professional Development

The Institute for Museum and Library Services announced a Museums Empowered award of $22,306 to the Rhode Island Historical Society for the purposes of training staff and volunteers across the organization to better develop, frame, interpret, and tell the histories of those who have been traditionally overlooked, marginalized, or silenced.  

Volunteers Needed for Historical Tours for Children

As part of the RIHS’s Field Trip Free for All program, more than 750 school children come to Providence annually to take part in our Avi Walks – historical walking tours that use the book Something Upstairs to educate students on local history and the slave trade. With the goal of expanding the program, increasing visitation, and reaching more children, we’re looking for new volunteers!

We Didn’t Go to the Catskills: Jewish Summer Recreation in R.I.

The Rhode Island Historical Society and Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association are collaborating on a panel discussion exploring past summer recreation sites. Speakers will reflect on popular local vacation destinations – including summer camps, country clubs, and favorite beaches – that Rhode Island’s Jewish community enjoyed throughout the 20th century.

RIHS Recognizes Teachers With Week of Free Admission, Programs

“Teacher Appreciation Week is all about thanking teachers for their dedication, and showing them how dedicated we are to them,” said Geralyn Ducady, Director of the RIHS’s Newell D. Goff Center for Education and Public Programs. “This is an opportunity to learn how the RIHS can help educators through the wonderful resources we have available, from free field trips to free digital textbooks to free curricula – and, of course, our collections.”

Public Meeting: Documenting African American Struggle for Civil Rights in RI

On July 11 from 5:30 to 7:30pm at the Congdon Street Baptist Church at 17 Congdon St. in Providence, the Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS), the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society (RIBHS), and Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC) will hold a public meeting to share the latest research from their collaborative project on African Americans’ struggle for Civil Rights in Rhode Island during the 20th century.

SOLD OUT Salute to Spring/Bonjour Printemps Is Sunday

The Museum of Work & Culture’s 19th annual Salute to Spring/Bonjour Printemps event will take place on Sunday, March 25, at 1:30pm, and will celebrate Franco-American culture. The day will include the MoWC’s eagerly anticipated 2nd Annual Best Rhode Island Poutine Competition.

A Letter – and Invitation – From Amanda Aldrich O’Bannon

Just as people are made stronger by being together, our local institutions are stronger when we work together across boundaries and find new ways to connect. These bonds make us more resilient and forge alliances that can take us in directions unimaginable. I’m always impressed with the amazing directions RIHS takes, and I’m excited that its members, friends, and supporters like you might come to see our play on March 15, with proceeds from the evening benefiting the organization!

The Museum of Work & Culture will host “Through Our Eyes,” an exhibit by the Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research & Treatment (RI-CART). All of the work on display was created by artists with autism and related neurodevelopmental conditions and will be exhibited through April 30 as part of the MoWC’s events planned for Autism Awareness Month. The show is curated by Hartford, Conn.-based artist Matthew Best.

MoWC’s Ciné Québec to Pick Official Entry for 2018 R.I. International Film Festival

The Museum of Work & Culture invites the public to an upcoming event that will help curate the 2018 Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival. Ciné Québec, an evening of Québecois films in celebration of the month of Francophonie, takes place Thursday, March 8, at the MoWC. The evening will begin at 6pm with a wine and cheese reception in the MoWC gallery.

French-Language Film Series at the Museum of Work & Culture in March

Beginning Saturday, March 3, the Museum of Work & Culture will host Cinema Saturdays, a weekly presentation of a French-language film produced in Québec. All films will be screened at 1:30pm and are subtitled in English. The films are included with the price of museum admission, purchased at the door ($8/adults, $6/students and seniors, free/children under 10).

Cedric De Leon Presents Free Talk on Right-to-Work Laws at Museum of Work & Culture

The Museum of Work & Culture will offer the next installment of its free Valley Talks series on Sunday, Feb. 25, at 1:30pm, when writer and professor Cedric de Leon presents a talk based on his book The Origins of Right to Work: Antilabor Democracy in Nineteenth-Century Chicago, which explores the creation of right-to-work laws.

Undressing History: Women’s Clothes & Unmentionables from the 19th Century

The Newport Historical Society and the Rhode Island Historical Society will partner for their first joint History Space event since 2015 when they present “Undressing History: Women’s Clothes & Unmentionables From the 19th Century.” During this program, which will be offered in Providence on March 6 and again in Newport on May 3, historical costumer Carrie Midura will share some of the secrets (and stuffing) that were hidden beneath the leg-o-mutton sleeves and shelf-like bustle gowns of the 1800s.

Valley Talks Continue With RIHS Executive Director on Triple-Deckers

The Museum of Work & Culture will offer the second installment of its free Valley Talks lecture series on Sunday, January 28, at 1:30pm, when Rhode Island Historical Society Executive Director Dr. C. Morgan Grefe will present “The Triple-Decker Menace,” exploring the history of the the three-story housing so distinct to New England.

MoWC to Celebrate Labor Day With Sesame Street’s Walkaround Julia

On Monday, September 4, the Museum of Work & Culture – along with Rhode Island PBS – will welcome Julia, a new friend from Sesame Street! A sweet and curious four-year-old girl with autism, Julia made her onscreen debut in April.

The event will take place during the MoWC’s free annual Labor Day Open House, which kicks off the MoWC’s 20th anniversary celebration.

The RIHS Presents Tomaquag Director Lorén Spears on Indigenous Food Sovereignty

On Tuesday, July 18, 5:30pm, at the Aldrich House (110 Benevolent St.), the Rhode Island Historical Society will host Dr. Lorén Spears, Executive Director of the Tomaquag Museum, to speak about indigenous peoples and the issue of food sovereignty. This event is presented as part of Relishing Rhode Island, the RIHS’s 2017 programming theme, as well as the statewide initiative A La Rhody.

Museum of Work & Culture Announces Made-to-Order Mondays, Summer SensAbilities Program

The Museum of Work & Culture has announced an expansion of its SensAbilities series for individuals on the autism spectrum and others facing sensory challenges.

Made-to-Order Mondays will provide free admission for families, day programs, and aides who wish to experience the MoWC in a low sensory, less crowded environment. Sensory elements such as lighting and sound are adjusted, and trained staff and volunteers are on hand to provide supplementary tools and offer tours to visitors who have children with special needs.

“Dolores Huerta: Daring to Lead” With Taína Caragol

As part of the Women’s History Talk Lecture Series with Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI), we are pleased to present a talk from Dr. Taína Caragol, Curator of Latino Art and History at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, who will discuss Civil Rights activist Dolores Huerta, a founder of the American Farm Workers movement, at CCRI’s Lincoln Campus on March 23.

Lovecraft Walking Tour Returns (March 18 Postponed – New Date April 8)

Each year, the Rhode Island Historical Society marks the anniversary of H.P. Lovecraft’s death in March of 1937 with a walking tour of spaces and places in Providence that were important to his life and work. Recent editions of the tour have also coincided with the release of Narragansett Beer’s latest Lovecraft-themed brew, which for 2017 is the Unnamable Black Lager. We’re excited to announced that ‘Gansett is back and will host a nearby afterparty for tour participants, details on which will be announced ASAP.

Museum of Work & Culture Launches French-Language Film Series

Beginning Saturday, March 4, the Museum of Work & Culture will host Cinema Saturdays, a weekly presentation of a French-language film produced in Québec. All films will be screened at 1:30pm and are subtitled in English. The films are included with the price of museum admission, purchased at the door ($8/adults, $6/students & seniors, free/children under 10).

Traditional Maple Sugaring at Coggeshall

Sure, we’ve all had French toast on a Saturday morning. But have you ever truly experienced your French toast on a Saturday morning? The Rhode Island Historical Society and Coggeshall Farm Museum are offering food lovers, history lovers, and food history lovers alike that opportunity on Saturday, March 4, 10am-noon, when the public is invited to learn about the process of maple sugaring and making maple syrup … and then to enjoy pouring it over some delicious hearth-cooked French toast.

Photos From Museum Day Live!

Thank you to the hundreds of visitors who joined us at three different sites – the John Brown House Museum, Museum of Work & Culture, and Aldrich House – for Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day Live on Saturday, as we celebrated the grand opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture with presentations from Keith Stokes and Sylvia Ann Soares, while also hosting a kickoff party for the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society – RIBHS’s 40th anniversary year.
Please enjoy these photos from a truly inspiring day!

Smithsonian Museum Day Live! at RIHS

The Rhode Island Historical Society will open its doors free of charge on Saturday September 24, 2016, as part of Smithsonian magazine’s 12th annual Museum Day Live! On this day only, participating museums across the United States emulate the spirit of the Smithsonian Institution’s Washington, D.C.-based facilities, which offer free admission every day, and open their doors for free to those who download a Museum Day Live! ticket.

Community Care Alliance: Human Services in Rhode Island, A 125 Year History

The exhibit traces the history of human service organizations in the city, including the name changes, mergers, and community partnerships that have led to the formation of the agency as it exists today. Displayed artifacts include photographs, daily log books, expenditure ledgers, and board manager journals dating from the organization’s founding in 1891.

RIHS Partners With Mount Vernon to Host Teacher Appreciation Week

The Rhode Island Historical Society is proud to announce the full schedule of programming for Teacher Appreciation Week, presented in partnership with George Washington’s Mount Vernon and taking place August 15 through August 19 at various RIHS sites in Providence and Woonsocket. During Teacher Appreciation Week, educators can enjoy free workshops and museum admission; info sessions about the resources that the RIHS offers in and out of the classroom; as well as special discounts on membership, gift shop purchases, and walking tours.

RIHS Talk and Walk to Mark H.P. Lovecraft’s Birthday

In commemoration of the 126th anniversary of Providence native H.P. Lovecraft’s birth, the Rhode Island Historical Society will offer two special events in August: A presentation from artist Jason C. Eckhardt on “Illustrating Lovecraft’s Fungi From Yuggoth,” taking place August 18, and the walking tour “H.P. Lovecraft: A Literary Life” on August 20, the author’s birthday.

RIHS News: ‘Colonial Justice’ Digital Archive Launches With 1729-1812 R.I. Court Records

The Rhode Island Historical Society has launched the digital archive “Colonial Justice: Preserving and Digitizing Early Rhode Island Court Records.” These specific collections were selected by RIHS curators for digitization based on their rarity, as well as their unique documentation of the colonial justice system in Rhode Island.

From a single online location, users can now access selected 1729-1812 records from the courts of Providence County, Kent County, and what was known as Kings County (now Washington County). The online archive is free and open to the public.

Woonsocket Proud Open House and Exhibit

Join the Museum of Work & Culture, Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, and Superintendent of Woonsocket Schools Dr. Patrick McGee at an open house on Wednesday, June 15, 4pm, as we celebrate the creative talents of Woonsocket’s fifth-graders.

Francophonie 2016: Calendar of Events

Once again, the Museum of Work & Culture is partnering with several Francophone & Francophile organizations including the Québec Delegation Boston, the Canadian Consulate in New England, Alliance Française de Providence, the American Association of Teachers of French, the French American School of Rhode Island, the American French Genealogical Society, and the Rhode Island International Film Festival, to offer a slate of French-inspired programming.

March 12 Is Museum Day Live! at the RIHS

Held during Women’s History Month, this special edition of the Smithsonian’s signature Museum Day Live! event will encourage all people – and particularly women and girls of color – to explore their nation’s museums, cultural institutions, zoos, aquariums, parks, and libraries, which will offer free admission for the day.

As a Smithsonian Affiliate, the RIHS is thrilled to take part in Museum Day Live!, and we’ll be offering free admission at the John Brown House Museum and the Museum of Work & Culture on Saturday, March 12.

Final Installment for Museum of Work & Culture’s Valley Talks!

Baseball historian Greg Rubano will present on his upcoming book, Under the Shadow of Ty Cobb: The Life and Times of Napoleon Lajoie, recounting the meteoric rise of Woonsocket native Nap Lajoie. The presentation will highlight Lajoie’s Horatio Alger rise from the mills to national idolatry as a baseball hero. In addition to chronicling Lajoie’s incredible exploits on the field, Rubano will tell the tales of the game, including Lajoie’s own stories and those of fellow players who played the game as it will never be played again.

Announcement: The RIHS Removes Four Dead Elm Trees From John Brown House Museum Property

Of interest to our members, friends, and supporters: We regret to announce that the Rhode Island Historical Society was forced to remove four more dead elm trees from the John Brown House Museum property. The RIHS hired TF Morra Tree Care, Inc., to handle the removal (as well as, potentially, a replanting strategy of more varied and disease-resistant trees in the coming months and years), and as this stage of the project draws to a close, we present Executive Director C. Morgan Grefe’s official statement on a painful decision that wasn’t really a decision at all:

St. Ann’s Expert Paul Bourget Presents Free Lecture on the Sentinelle Affair

Writer and historical reenactor Paul Bourget will examine the Sentinelle Affair, the local underground movement to preserve French Canadian culture that led to the excommunication of 61 congregants. The Movement Sentinelliste, one of the most divisive periods in Woonsocket’s history, caused battle lines to be drawn among French-Canadians in St. Ann’s Parish and throughout New England. Bourget will discuss the roots of the movement, its impact on the city, and the long-term ramifications of the members’ actions.

Valley Talks: Albert Klyberg on the CCC

Historian & former Rhode Island Historical Society Director Albert Klyberg (pictured) will explore the origins and accomplishments of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which employed more than 10,000 young men in Rhode Island from 1932 to 1941. The CCC, a branch of FDR’s New Deal, tasked these individuals with conserving natural resources on government land, including seven Rhode Island-based camps focused on forestry projects and state parks.

Celebrate the holiday season with a fun and festive afternoon at the Aldrich House!

Smithsonian Museum Day Live 2015!

As a Smithsonian Affiliate, we’re proud to participate in Museum Day Live 2015, a nationwide event produced by Smithsonian Magazine that celebrates the Smithsonian’s open doors and free admission policy! Our “Benefit Street: A Mile of History” walking tour, starting at 11am at the John Brown House Museum (52 Power St.) will also be free on Museum Day Live 2015.

“514 Broadway: A&L Tirocchi Gowns and the American Dream”

To mark the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Tirocchi sisters’ shop on Broadway in Providence, we’re honored to welcome Museum of Fine Arts Boston Curator Pamela Parmal to discuss her work with the Tirocchi collection on Sunday, Sept. 20, 3:30pm, at the Rhode Island Historical Society’s Aldrich House (110 Benevolent St.).

A Major Announcement: The RIHS Is Now a Smithsonian Affiliate!

In an exciting development years in the making – and thanks to the dedication of our Board of Trustees, members, supporters, partners, friends, and staff – the state will now have a conduit to the Smithsonian and its countless resources, as the Institution has designated the Rhode Island Historical Society as an Affiliate. In turn, Smithsonian patrons will gain greater access to collections and programs reflecting Rhode Island’s own history.

Historical Research in Rhode Island Will Never Be the Same …

For the first time in more than 50 years, historians, students, authors, and genealogists from across New England – and around the world – will no longer be visiting the Rhode Island Historical Society Library to pursue their work.