Guide to Museums
County, Rhode Island, is an area wrapped in
history. Indian words such as Quonochontaug,
Narragansett, and Pettaquamscutt spell out its
rich historic heritage, while numerous historic
sites reveal South County's historical
significance. You now have the chance to follow in
the footsteps of America's founding fathers, early
settlers, and native inhabitants. This guide
introduces important historic sites, museums and
monuments in South County's neighboring towns.
From North Kingstown to Westerly, and from the
Atlantic west to Hopkinton, you can wander down
unspoiled village streets and create your own
legendary trail as South County unfolds its story.
- 124 Granite St. Westerly
- Early Georgian-style, this
was the home of Dr. Joshua Babcock, Westerly's
physician and postmaster and friend of Benjamin
Franklin, who was a frequent visitor. It was
later owned by Orlando Smith, who in 1846
discovered granite on the property which later
became one of the country's leading granite
- Rt.1-A, Saunderstown (North
Kingstown) (401) 295-1030.
- This mid-18th century
homestead overlooking Narragansett Bay was the
center of a plantation that produced food for
local and foreign markets. Today, resident farm
managers raise organically grown vegetables,
herbs and flowers for subscribing households in
a Community Supported Agriculture program. The
guided tour includes the farmyard and cemetery,
where six generations of Caseys are buried.
- 1859 Mooresfield Road,
Kingston. (401) 789-9072.
- Authentically preserved 1820
home of the former Kingston Village Blacksmith.
4 rooms, corner beams, central fireplace, Dutch
oven, landmark quilt. Surrounded by handsomely
landscaped grounds, it is now home of the
Fayerweather craft guild offering handcrafted
gifts by local artisans.
Nathanael Greene Homestead:
- 50 Taft Street, Coventry.
- Built by Nathanael Greene in
1770, the "Homestead" is a
well-preserved 18th Century structure, situated
above the Pawtuxet River on 13 acres. Eight
display rooms are furnished with period
furnishings and Greene family memorabilia. Open
April through Oct.
- 815 Gilbert Stuart Road,
North Kingstown. (401) 294-3001
- Gilbert Stuart, born here in
1755, was foremost portraitist of George
Washington. This is an operating 18th-century
snuff mill, (the first in America) with water
wheel. Colonial furniture and tools are
- 90 Pierce Street, East
Greenwich. (401) 821-1628
- Built in 1843, this Greek
Revival style armory is considered by
architectural historians to be of outstanding
architectural value and of great historic value
at the national level. On the National Register
of Historic Places since 1971, the armory is
unique since it is believed to be the only
armory of its kind built during this period just
prior to the Mexican War. Home to the Kentish
Guards and its Fife and Drum Corps. Open by
appointment. Free admission.
Station and Rhode Island Railroad Museum:
- 1 Railroad Ave., PO Box 191,
West Kingston. (401) 789-3327
- Historic Kingston Railroad
station was constructed at this location in
1875. Placed on the Register of Historic Places
in 1975, it is now an active Amtrak Station on
the Northeast Corridor. Also home to the Rhode
Island Railroad Museum
of Primitive Art Culture:
- Kingstown Rd., Peacedale
Village. (401) 783-5711
- Exhibits of primitive tools,
utensils and weapons from various cultures.
England Wireless and Steam Museum:
- 1300 Frenchtown Road, East
Greenwich. (401) 885-0545
- Exhibits include early
radio, telegraph, and television equipment, as
well as stationary steam, hot air, gas and oil
engines. Reference library contains many early
scientific texts. Open year round.
Pettaquamscutt Historical Society:
- 2636 Kingstown Road,
Kingston. (401) 783-1328
- Explore the region's history
at the old Washington County Jail (1792 and
1858), one of the oldest surviving jails in
Rhode Island and the headquarters of the
Pettaquamscutt Historical Society. Period rooms
and historical displays. Open year round.
- 488 Ecclecston Ave. North
Kingstown (401) 294-9540
- New in 1993, this museum is
located in the only brick hangar on the East
Coast. It is a working museum that will house a
growing collection of aircraft and New England
aviation memorabilia. R.I. Aviation exhibits
will focus on both commercial and military
- 55 Richard Smith Drive,
North Kingstown, one mile north of Wickford off
Post Road (Route 1). (401) 294- 3521.
- On this site, in 1637, Roger
Williams established a trading post. In 1676 the
Narragansett burned the post in retaliation for
the Great Swamp massacre and it was rebuilt in
1678. Significant extant sections of the 1678
structure, the 18th century garden, tools and
furnishings provide visitors with a lively study
of 350 years of Rhode Island history.
- Guided tours by costumed
docents May-October, and a strawberry festival
- Strathmore Street),
Narragansett. (401) 783-5400
- Articles of early Rhode
Island life and industry: General Store, Country
Kitchen, Victorian Bedroom, Schoolroom, and
more. Working print shop, Carpentry Shop,
Blacksmith Shop, Yankee Crafts and Carriage
- Arcadia Village, Summit
Road. 401 539-7213.
- Native Tomaquag Indian
Memorial Museum. Open by appointment.
Fascinating artifacts including an authentic
birch bark canoe, large & varied collection
of Southern New England ash splint baskets, also
a large doll collection featuring lovely corn
husk dolls, plus many historical articles and
archeological specimens from this area.
- 57 Peirce Street: (401)
- Eight room mansion built in
1773 by James Mitchell Varnum.
- 6 Main Street, East
Greenwich: (401) 884-4110
- James Mitchell Varnum, the
first commander of the Kentish Guards, was
commissioned a Brigadier General in the
Continental Army. The medieval Castle style
armory, headquarters of the Varnum Continentals
was built in 1713 to house the extensive
military collection and period artifacts.
Hill Lighthouse Museum and U.S. Coast Guard
- Lighthouse Road in the
Village of Watch Hill.
- The present white brick
structure with granite tower is situated on the
north side of the east entrance to Fishers
- Railroad Avenue, Westerly,
- The museum features military
memorabilia and historical community items.