Smithsonian Museum Day Live! at RIHS


RIHS Museums to Take Part in Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day Live!

What: Smithsonian Museum Day Live! at RIHS Museums

When: September 24, 2016 [FREE EVENTS]

Where: John Brown House Museum (52 Power St., Providence), starting at 10am

            Museum of Work & Culture (42 S. Main St., Woonsocket), starting at 10am

            Aldrich House (110 Benevolent St., Providence), starting at 3:30pm

The Rhode Island Historical Society will open its doors free of charge on Saturday, Sept. 24, 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 provide access for free to those who download a Museum Day Live! ticket.  

Inclusive by design, the event represents Smithsonian’s commitment to make learning and the spread of knowledge available to everyone. Last year’s event drew more than 200,000 participants, and this year’s event is expected to attract more museum-goers than ever before.

As a Smithsonian Affiliate, the RIHS will participate with free admission and special programming at the John Brown House Museum and Aldrich House in Providence, as well as the Museum of Work & Culture in Woonsocket. Many of the exhibits, performances, and events will celebrate the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History & Culture, whose eagerly anticipated opening is the same day.

At the John Brown House Museum:

  • Special exhibits will feature items from RIHS collections focusing on the slave trade, as well as the contributions of people of African heritage in Rhode Island
  • 10:30AM: In collaboration with the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society, Keith Stokes will give a morning presentation titled, “More Than Chattel Property: The African Heritage Experience in Rhode Island.” This talk will present a multimedia lecture including images of historic documents from the collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society, the Newport Historical Society, and the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society. The information presented covers 1636-1936, and guests can learn about the African heritage community in Rhode Island with stories of historic events, places, and people.
  • Noon: An interactive activity will allow adults and children alike to experience and understand the Complicity Web (illustrating complicity in the slave trade), an activity typically offered during RIHS student field trip groups

  • 1:30 & 3:00PM: Sylvia Ann Soares performs Defiance, which includes dramatic recollections of and diary excerpts from sculptor Nancy Elizabeth Prophet’s struggles and successes in Paris and America. Prophet, an African American Narragansett Pequot, was the first graduate of color from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1918.

At the Museum of Work and Culture:

  • Producer and filmmaker Marc Levitt will discuss his upcoming documentary about triple-decker multifamily housing. After the presentation, RIHS will gather images and oral histories from across generations and backgrounds.
  • A gallery presentation of “Stories of Access, Stories of Denial,” a collaborative program with RiverzEdge, a youth-engagement nonprofit in Woonsocket that uses oral histories and podcasts to share local stories of discrimination in housing access.

At the Aldrich House:

  • 3:30-5:00PM: In collaboration with the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society, the RIHS will host the Grand Opening of the RIBHS’s new office headquarters and exhibition space at Aldrich House. During the opening, visitors will be able to view posters from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture on exhibit in the ballroom.

The Museum Day Live! ticket is available for download at Visitors who present the Museum Day Live! ticket will gain free entrance for two at participating venues on September 24, 2016. One ticket per household is permitted. For more information about Museum Day Live! 2016 and a full list of participating museums and cultural institutions, please visit  

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