The Rhode Island Historical Society The Rhode Island Historical Society

The Rhode Island Historical Society

A private organization that preserves the largest and most broadly significant historical collections related to Rhode Island.

Preserving Historical Collections

The Rhode Island Historical Society

Founded in 1822, The Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS) holds the largest and most broadly significant historical collections relating to Rhode Island. The collection includes printed books, photographs, sound recordings, moving picture films, manuscript collections, maps, prints, ephemera, architectural drawings, and several smaller and other miscellaneous categories of historical holdings.

 The Rhode Island Historical Society Fast Facts:

  • The RIHS is the only state-wide history organization in Rhode Island.
  • Founded in 1822, the RIHS is the fourth oldest historical society in the nation.
  • The RIHS includes two museums, a research center, and two historic houses. In addition, the RIHS acts as a steward of three land parcels related to King Philip's war.
  • The RIHS is the first Smithsonian Affiliate in Rhode Island.
  • More than 30 staff members and 145 volunteers make all of the Society's work possible.
  • The RIHS serve 25,000 in-person visitors and 130,000 virtual visitors annually.
  • The RIHS collection includes 20,000 objects, including armaments, furnishings, paintings, textiles, sculptures, toys, adornments, tools, vehicles, and more.
  • In addition, the Society holds over 10 million pages of manuscripts and 9 million feet of moving picture film.
  • The RIHS preserves and cares for over 100,000 books, 194,000 photographs, 3,000 maps, 19,000 prints, 900 broadsides, 4,000 drawings, 20,000 architectural drawings, 3,000 sound recordings, and 16,000 pieces of emphera.
  • The RIHS is a leading contributor to both the education and tourism sectors of Rhode Island's economy.

GRoW Support


General Operating Support, John Brown House Museum