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Museums and galleries offer a tour of art, culture, fun for children

Rhode Island's museums and galleries range from art at the world-famous RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) to living history at Coggeshall and Watson farm museums, and others that make great places to visit and things to do on your next Rhode Island vacation.

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Visitors at Naval War College Museum Newport Rhode Island
Naval War College Museum

686 Cushing Road Newport, RI, 02841 Phone: 401-841-4052

Naval history, strategies come alive in war college museum

Want to learn about naval activities in the Narragansett Bay area in colonial times? Or how the science of naval warfare has changed from the time of the Greeks and Romans through the Civil War, both World Wars to today? Then head to the Naval War College Museum, free and open to the public, where naval battles and strategies come to life via changing art collections, exhibits and documents. Starting Dec. 14, learn about the Navy’s role in World War I from the new exhibit, “To Win or Lose All: William S. Sims and the U.S. Navy in the First World War.”
Year round hours: Monday -Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed weekends & federal holidays. Reservations required in advance for those without base access.
Rear Exterior Rough Point Mansion Newport Rhode Island
Rough Point

680 Bellevue Avenue Newport, RI, 02840 Phone: 401-847-8344

Artistic treasures and more on display at Doris Duke's mansion

This magnificent museum was originally the oceanfront estate of Doris Duke—heiress, philanthropist, and art collector. Built in 1887 with its historic landscape designed by Frederick Law Olmstead’s firm, it remains as she left it with French furniture, European art, Chinese porcelains, and Flemish tapestries. . The expansive landscape features both formal and kitchen gardens as well as panoramic ocean views. In 1958 and 1959, Doris Duke began purchasing art and antiques for the house, combining these new pieces with family treasures. She lived there from May through November most years and continued to collect items for the house during her wide-ranging travels. Upon her death in 1993, Doris bequeathed the estate to the Newport Restoration Foundation, which opened the house and grounds to the public in 2000.
Warwick Center for the Arts - Warwick Office of Tourism - Warwick, RI
Warwick Center for the Arts

3259 Post Road Warwick, RI, 02886 Phone: 401-737-0010

Warwick Center for the Arts is tucked into a block in one of the city’s historic village centers, cheek-to-cheek with City Hall, the local library, and the post office, all of which are historical buildings. The Center for the Arts is a bustling space: the main gallery showcases art exhibits that change every four to six weeks with a festive opening reception for each. The main gallery also hosts art demos, gallery talks, film screenings, and occasional social events for the community. The stage in the main gallery provides intimate performance space for artists of all types. Weekly laughs are provided by Bring Your Own Improv comedy troupe—two shows each Friday. Other performers who have graced the stage include poets, student musicians from the RI Philharmonic, and ethnic dance troupes.
Steamship Historical Society of America

2500 Post Road Warwick, RI, 02886 Phone:

Steamship Historical Society of America is dedicated to recording, preserving and disseminating the history of engine-powered vessels. Its Warwick building contains a growing collection of paintings, half-models, and maritime artwork by noteworthy artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. The society’s interactive website virtually distributes some of the organization's vast archives with a worldwide audience. The site includes lesson plans for teachers at "STEAMing Into the Future. The society welcomes steamship enthusiasts to submit articles for publication in the magazine “PowerShips.” The society building and archives are open by appointment.
Clouds Hill Museum - Warwick Office of Tourism - Warwick, RI
Clouds Hill Museum

4175 Post Road Warwick, RI, 02886 Phone: 401-884-9490

A portal to the past...

This house, in the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1872. Visitors have noted the high quality of the property as a pure and authentic example of the Victorian period. The house was designed by William Walker & Sons, who designed many Rhode Island buildings. Experts see right away that the fireplace setting was carved by Charles Dowler, whose pieces are fine enough for display in many museums, Well-known members of the family include Roger Williams, Zachariah Allen, Samuel Slater, and Anne “Nancy” Allen Holst. The carriage museum has a dozen vehicles and their accessories. The property has 70 species of trees and shrubs.
Slater_Mill_Pawtucket_Blackstone_Valley-credit-RI-Commerce-Corporation
Slater Mill Historic Site

67 Roosevelt Avenue Pawtucket, RI, 02862 Phone: 401-725-8638

Site of several colonial structures, including Slater Mill (1793), birthplace of American industry, the Sylvanus Brown House (1758), and Wilkinson Mill (1810), home to an authentic 19th century machine shop. This rhode Island site also features a eight-ton working water wheel, constructed in 1826, and regular demonstrations of early textile machinery, hand-spinning, and weaving, , making for an interesting place to visit and thing to do especially on your next family vacation.
Hours: Vary seasonally; call ahead.
Admission: Adults age 13-64, $12; seniors over age 64, $10; children age 6-12, $8.50
NMAI interior-credit-National-Museum-of-American-Illustration
National Museum of American Illustration and Frederick Law Olmsted Park

Vernon Court at 492 Bellevue Avenue Newport, RI, 02840 Phone: 401-851-8949

This essential American art form is on display at this largest collection original artworks from the Golden Age of American Illustration anywhere in the world. The museum includes artworks by N.C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell, and more than 100 other artists. Vernon Court is a furnished 1898 mansion, a unique union of art and architecture, and a national treasure.
Hours: Memorial Day to Labor Day; see website for hours. Open year-round by advance reservation for groups or private tours.
Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and grist mill in RI
Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum

815 Gilbert Stuart Road Saunderstown, RI, 02874 Phone: 401-294-3001

A showplace for reproductions of the works of Gilbert Stuart, one of America’s foremost portrait painters, this home also is an authentically restored and furnished workingman’s home and the site of the first snuff mill in America. The lovely wooded homestead on the banks of the Mattatuxet Brook also features a partially restored grist mill and a fascinating fish ladder. The grist mill houses the original fine-grained granite stones used to grind corn for the famous Rhode Island johnny cakes.
Hours: May- September; limited hours in October; call ahead for days and times.  
Admission: Adults, $10; children age 6-12, $6
Information: www.gilbertstuartmuseum.com
Museum of Natural History and Cormack Planetarium

Roger Williams Park, 1000 Elmwood Avenue Providence, RI, 02907 Phone: 401-680-7221

Rhode Island's only natural history museum and home to the state's only planetarium make this a great place to visit and thing to do, especially on your next family vacation with children. The museum offers regular exhibits, events, and attractions. The Planetarium features a state-of-the-art Zeiss star projector and an enlarged domed ceiling on which the stars are projected. Children under age 4 are not permitted into the planetarium.
Hours: Museum open daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with last admission at 3:30 p.m. The planetarium is open every weekend and daily during July and August, with shows beginning at 2 p.m.
Admission: Museum admission is $2; planetarium admission is $3.
Information: www.providenceri.com/museum.
Museum of Yachting at Fort Adams

Fort Adams State Park Newport, RI, 02840 Phone: 401-847-1018

The Museum of Yachting brings to the public eye the beauty and excitement which has led sailors to the water for centuries. It is a lively organization that reflects the international flavor of yachting in Newport, Rhode Island, and is dedicated to the preservation of the traditional skills, documents, vessels, and artifacts which record and describe the history and development of yachting around the world.
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Adults, $5; seniors and children, $4.
Information: www.moy.org.
South County Museum

115 Anne Hoxsie Lane Narragansett, RI Phone: 401-783-5400

South County Museum is located on a 174-acre park that once was the 68-room summer home of Civil War-era Governor William Sprague. It includes a working 19th-century farm, and its seven exhibition buildings house a working print shop and working blacksmith shop, plus exhibits on farming, home-making, fishing and sailing and other aspects of 19th- and early 20th-century life in southern Rhode Island.
Hours: May, June and September, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 4 p.m; July and August, Wednesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 4 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $5; seniors over age 60, $4; children age 6 to 12, $2.
Information: www.southcountymuseum.org
Museum of Work and Culture

42 South Main Street Woonsocket, RI Phone: 401-769-9675

The Museum of Work and Culture thells the stories of the men, women, and children who came to find a better life in Rhode Island’s mill towns in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The Museum offers visitors an educational experience; exhibits include a farmhouse, mill floor, triple decker, parochial school classroom, and union meeting hall. The museum is fully wheelchair accessible. In 2015 the Museum was named “Best Overlooked Museum” in New England by Yankee Magazine.
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday,1-4 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $8; seniors or students, $6; children under age 10, free.
Information: www.rihs.org/museums/museum-of-work-and-culture/
Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum

390 Summit Road Exeter, RI, 02822 Phone: 401-539-7213

Artifacts and information about local tribes and Native American groups across the country are presented at Rhode Island’s Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum. Artifacts include an authentic birch bark canoe, a collection of Southern New England ash splint baskets, and a large doll collection.
Hours: Open year-round by appointment only.
Museum of Art at Rhode Island School of Design

224 Benefit Street and 20 North Main Street Providence, RI, 02903 Phone: 401-454-6500

The exhibits at this Rhode Island museum focus on historic art and design. About 86,000 works of art include items and exhibits from ancient Greece and Rome, 18th-century Europe, ancient Egypt, the Middle Ages and 19th-century American decorative art.
Admission: Adults, $12; seniors over age 62, $10; college students, $5; youth aged 5-18, $3. Free admission third Thursday of the month, 5-9 p.m.; every Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology

Tower Street, off Route 136 Bristol, RI, 02809 Phone: 401-863-2065

A part of Brown University, this Rhode Island museum focuses on the arts and culture of Native American, African, Southeast Asian, and Oceanic societies throughout history.
Hours: Year-round, Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Mondays and Brown University holidays.
Admission: Free
Information: www.brown.edu/Facilities/Haffenreffer/
John Brown House Museum

52 Power Street Providence, RI, 02906 Phone: 401-273-7507

One of America's grandest mansions when completed in 1788, the house at 52 Power Street was home first to John Brown, a businessman, patriot, politician, China trade pioneer, and slave trader who participated in the debates and practices that shaped the new nation. Group, school, and special tours are available by appointment when you decide to visit this Rhode Island museum on your next vacation or getaway. .
Hours: December 1-March 31, Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 and 3 p.m.; April 1-November 30, Tuesday-Friday, 1:30 and 3 p.m.; Saturdays, 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 and 3 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $10; seniors and students, $8; children age 7-17, $6.
Information: rihs.org/museums_jbh.html
Museum of Newport History

127 Thames Street Newport, RI, 02840 Phone: 401-846-0813

The museum offers a overview of Newport, Rhode Island, history with exhibits of decorative arts, artifacts of everyday life, graphics, historic photographs, audio-visual programs, ship models, paintings, Colonial silver, the printing press used by James Franklin, a ball gown worn from the Summer Colony, the figurehead from the yacht Aloha, and more. The museum is a great place to visit and thing to do on your next vacation with children when you are looking for a family activity.
Hours: Mid-June-September 4, daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; April 20-June 11 and September 7-December 23, Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, 1-4 p.m.; closed Christmas to April.
Admission: Donation.
Information: www.newporthistorical.org.
Herreshoff Marine Museum and America's Cup Hall of Fame

1 Burnside Street Bristol, RI, 02809 Phone: 401-253-5000

The museum and hall of fame present the story of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company and the America's Cup competition. From 1863 to 1945, the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company produced the world's finest yachts on the cutting edge of design and engineering. This Rhode Island museum's collection includes 60 original Herreshoff boats, steam engines, artifacts, and photographs from the Golden Age of Yachting.
Hours: April 26-November 2, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; other times of year by appointment.
Admission: Adults, $10; seniors over age 65, $8; military, $8, youth over age 10, $5.
Information: www.herreshoff.org/
Coggeshall Farm Museum

Off Route 114 Bristol, RI, 02809 Phone: 401-253-9062

A 35-acre colonial farm, established in 1750. The museum features rare breeds of livestock, a barn, cooling house, blacksmith and springhouse. Open March-September, 10 am-6 pm; October-February, 10 am-5 pm.