Notes on collections at the RIHS
The Rhode Island Historical Society is a privately endowed membership organization, founded in 1822, dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing Rhode Island ‘s history. Its offices are located at 110 Benevolent Street , Providence , Rhode Island , 02906 . Information about its collections and historic buildings, and about its program and events, may be found through our website.
Founded in 1822, the Society is the fourth oldest state historical society in the United States (after the Massachusetts Historical Society, New York Historical Society, and Maine Historical Society). The Rhode Island Historical Society was founded and supported by many early Rhode Island luminaries, including Moses Brown and Henry J. Steere.
The Society has the largest and most important historical collections in existence relating to Rhode Island . These collections include some 25,000 objects, 5,000 manuscripts, 100,000 books and printed items, 400,000 photographs and maps, and 9 million feet of motion-picture film. The Society owns and maintains the notable John Brown House ( 52 Power Street , Providence ), a National Historic Landmark built in 1786; the Aldrich House ( 110 Benevolent Street , Providence ), also a National Historic Landmark, built in 1822; and the Library of Rhode Island History ( 121 Hope Street , Providence ). The Society also maintains the Museum of Work and Culture ( 42 South Main Street , Woonsocket ), a regional history museum devoted to the ethnic history of northern Rhode Island . The Society offers through the Newell D. Goff Education Center a variety of educational programs including workshops, lectures, films, and walking tours of Providence . In recent years the Society has been very active in teacher training programs seeking to improve the quality of history teaching in Rhode Island . The Society also presents exhibits, films, concerts, and many other community activities and programs.
The Society’s most noteworthy recent advances include its first on-line collection access catalog and the first major restoration of the historic John Brown House, a $2.5 million project that should be complete in 2010.
While we preserve the past, our members ensure our future through membership fees, special gifts, and donations to the collections. Rhode Island’s history is the story of all the people who have lived here. We need your help to tell those stories.