The Private Side of One of America’s Most Powerful 18th-Century Families

‘After Dark,’ Presented by RIHS and NHS, Explores Browns, Bad Boys, and Boudoirs

What: “After Dark: Browns, Bad Boys, and Boudoirs,” a History Space Event

When: Thursday, April 19, 5-6:30pm

Where: John Brown House Museum (52 Power St., Providence)

Admission: $35 general admission/$20 for RIHS and NHS members; tickets available here  (must be 21 or older to enter)

When the sun sets in 18th-century Providence, what happens at the mansion on the hill? Find out Thursday, April 19, when the Rhode Island Historical Society and Newport Historical Society present After Dark: Browns, Bad Boys, and Boudoirs.

During this living history event at the John Brown House Museum (52 Power St., Providence), guests will enjoy a historically inspired cocktail generously provided by Bottles before meeting costumed interpreters portraying members of the Brown family and their servants as they illustrate life on an April evening in 1790.

Participants will join in the action and uncover intimate details about this powerful family and life in 18th-century America. On the first floor, visitors can interact with James Brown and his friend during a meeting of the Cold Meat Club, a private social club, as they discuss gentlemen’s issues and evening liquors. On the second floor, they can converse about gothic novels with teenage daughter Sally Brown as she prepares for bed, and sympathize with Mrs. Brown, who is aggravated by illness, as she frowns on her family’s behavior.

As guests explore the house, they may take the opportunity to gossip with maids as they prepare for the night, revealing what they find hidden when cleaning. In turn, guests should be prepared to catch a glimpse of the private side of the Browns … swearing, discussions of sex, and even contraception are likely topics of conversation. And “winding the clock,” a servant’s common chore, will take on a whole new meaning.

Tickets are available here. Visitors must be 21 or older to enter.

After Dark: Browns, Bad Boys, and Boudoirs is a History Space event, presented by the Rhode Island Historical Society and the Newport Historical Society. Following After Dark, the next History Space event is Undressing History: Women’s Clothes and Unmentionables From the 19th Century on May 3 at the Newport Historical Society Resource Center (82 Touro St., Newport). Please visit for more information.

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