Preserve History Yourself

Interested in historical preservation? Visit one of these local societies

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The faculty at Salve Regina and RWU all agree that one of the best ways to get involved in historic preservation is by visiting or joining your local preservation society. Here’s a rundown of what’s going on at some local societies.

Barrington Preservation Society
You can visit the Town Museum on the lower level of the Barrington Public Library on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 11am– 4pm. Kids can pick up a “Historical Quest” booklet with clues to objects on display in the museum. For each one they find, they get a star. Once the booklet is full of stars, they are awarded a Detective Badge. 281 County Road, Barrington. 401-289-0802.

Warren Preservation Society
The Warren Preservation Society has been focusing on displaying historic markers on properties along the waterfront district. The program is designed to bring attention to the many historic and distinctive structures that showcase the town’s rich architectural and cultural heritage. The society also has an oral histories project to gather interviews with longtime residents of Warren. Anyone interested in including his or her story in the archives can contact the society. P.O. Box 624, Warren.

Westport Historical Society
Through their website, you can access a searachable online database that stores the society’s entire collection of photographs, postcards and archives. It includes 2,100 photographs of Westport people, places and events, 1,200 postcards, 600 pages of scrapbooks and newspaper clippings, as well as documents such as maps, manuscripts, logbooks, diaries, letters, deeds, account books and wills. To search through their physical collection, which also includes objects, paintings, books and clothing, contact the society directly. 25 Drift Rd., Westport. 508-636-6011. 

Little Compton Historical Society
The society offers guided tours of the Wilbor House, a 1690 family home. Self-guided tours of the surrounding property are also available, where you can see an 18th century barn, a 19th century barn, Peaked Top school, carriage house, a collection of antique carriages, a corn crib, a cook house, a privy and an herb garden. Their website features a searchable database of images and descriptions of the items in their collection, from a 19th-century inkwell to Civil War weapons. P.O. Box 577, Little Compton. 401-635-4035. 

Bristol Historical & Preservation Society
Located in the former Bristol County Jail, which was built in 1828, the society offers a large collection of artifacts and memorabilia from Bristol’s 300 years of history. The collection and library are open several days a week and features a kids room with historic toys, dolls, doll houses and baby cradles, as well as several other exhibit spaces. “Hither and Yon” walking tours with historian Ray Battcher occur throughout the summer on Thursday afternoons at 3pm. 48 Court Street, Bristol. 401-253-7223.