The Block Island Times

The Historical Society Museum, Gallery & Shop is located at the 4-way intersection in Old Harbor at Bridgegate Square across from the bank and Bagel Shop. The three story building with cupola and red mansard roof  is the headquarters for the Society established in 1942. The House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The museum building originally known as the Woonsocket House ca. 1871,( a hotel & annex with rooms that were rented up until the 1970's ) was purchased in 1945, it was the homesite of Gideon Rose and later rebuilt as a boarding house by the A. J. Rose family. The museum houses an extensive collection of  artifacts related to Block Island's history from the time of the early Native American village settlement (500 BC) to maritime fishing and farming  as well as colonial memorabilia and unique historic photographs capturing life during the Victorian age. Two floors of exhibit rooms include fine furniture, textiles, quilts, boat models, tools, fishing gear, maps, a reproduction of a Manissean  midden (shell heap & archeological features), oral history tapes and other interesting displays. Genealogical research and off-site history tours available by appointment year round.

The museum’s lead exhibit: "Surrounded by the Sea: The Block Island Story" is located in the newly refurbished first floor west gallery room with highlights of  recently accessioned items acquired with support from the Barbara Jones Taylor Fund and Seedworks Inc.

Highlights in the museum include nautical charts, artwork, and an early 19th century reproduction of  Dutch explorer Adrian Block's voyages.  A large screen video monitor located in the newly renovated north wing gallery shows movies and slide shows of historic photographs depicting island scenes taken over 100 years ago. Selected images are available for purchase in the Museum & Gallery Shop. Original oil & watercolor paintings by artist C. Sperry Andrews available for purchase in the new Gallery. Programs include a special sword fishing talk and hands on presentation available by appointment  or  upon request for group tours. (minimum 4 people)
For group tours, genealogy research or to donate anything with Block Island related history, please contact Executive Director: Pam Gasner at (401) 864-4357 or e-mail Volunteers are welcome to participate in the many projects and events during the year. Look for more info on our new website:

Open fall weekends through Oct. 13th 11 - 4 pm as well as Thursday & Fridays 1- 4 and by appointment on other weekdays.

Selected  "Night at the Museum" Programs throughout the year include scavenger hunts & drawing classes;

Admission: $6 per adult; $4 seniors & students. 12 and under  free. Guided tours upon request. Special off site historical tours by appt. Includes cemetery tours, Native American village site and lighthouse tours. Group tours are available for schools, scouts and other community organizations. The Gallery Room and grounds are also available to rent for private events. 30' round event tent available $1500 includes installation.

Memberships available. Donations Welcome!

Historical Society Opens with a New Porch!

"Surrounded by the Sea - the Block Island Story" - we officially open the museum and gallery this Friday evening. Come stand on our new porch, go inside and see the progress we have made this year with our building restoration, greet old friends, renew your membership - or join up. All are welcome!
"Lady Unveiled: Catherine Greene Miller 1755-1814" book ...

First event of the season on the porch of the Historical Society. Purchase books before the event at the Glass Onion, Island Bound, Island Free Library or the Museum. $$19.95 "Entertaining and well-researched, Ms. Mueller brings Kitty Littlefield(Katy) Greene, one of America's oft-forgotten ...
21st Century Tuesday

The Historical Society wants all our friends and supporters to know we keep going all year. OnTuesday afternoons our Winter Intern, high school student Wade Ortel, is helping with our computer system upgrade which in turn has enabled us to better document accessions and digitally document our ...
Building History

The Historical Board is pleased to announce the retaining of architectural consultant James Thomas to assist in updating the condition report of the single largest piece in the Society's collection, its home, the Woonsocket House building. James, who visited in mid-February, will be giving ...
Show & Tell Saturday

Immediately following the 1 pm Big Read Round Table discussion with Dawn Dove, Narragansett elder and oral historian at the Library on Saturday, January 25, the Historical Society will sponser a reception with refreshments and a “show and tell” of Manissean artifacts from the museum's collection.
From our collection
More Photos... Hawkins Photos - Winter 1965
More Photos...