Contact: Pamela Littlefield Gasner
18 Old Town Rd
Block Island, RI 02807
Hours: Off season by appointment
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.
This summer, the museum’s lead exhibit: "Surrounded by the Sea: The Block island Story" will be 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., recent 2013 donations. Due to its popularity the exhibit : "Pirates, Shipwrecks & Tales of the Sea" will continue for another season.
Highlights in the museum include nautical charts, artwork, and an early 19th century reproduction of Dutch explorer Adrian Block's voyages. Two video monitors, one located in the newly renovated north wing gallery show movies and slide shows depicting island scenes taken over 100 years ago. Selected images are available for purchase in the Museum Shop. A special sword fishing talk and presentation is available by appointment or upon request during group tours. .
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers are welcome to participate in the many projects and events during the year. Look for our new website: blockislandhitorical.org
Open Spring & Fall weekends ( 12 - 4 pm) and by appointment on weekdays.
Summer Season: Open Daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 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 daily Upon request @ 11 & 3 pm. Special off site historical tours by appt. Group tours are available for schools, scouts and other community organizations. The Gallery Room and grounds are also available to rent for private events.
Memberships available. Donations Welcome!