More than 25,000 artifacts, 100,000 printed items, 400,000 historic maps and photographs, and 9 million feet of motion-picture film. Founded in 1822, the Rhode Island Historical Society chronicles the past of its native state with an expansive collection, film screenings, special presentations, and other weekly events. In addition to these programs, the organization keeps local history alive at its three historic sites. Visitors can embark on guided or self-guided explorations of the 18th-century John Brown House Museum—a registered National Historic Landmark—as well as the library, which houses the society's collections. The Rhode Island Historical Society also oversees the Museum of Work and Culture, where exhibits recount the social, cultural, and economic history of northern Rhode Island through the 20th century.
Starting Friday, October 5 at 6 p.m. and running through Monday, October 8, O Fest RI, spearheaded by Doherty's East Avenue Irish Pub, celebrates autumn with beer, live music, and general merriment. The festival features fall-themed libations from as far away as Germany itself—with Oktoberfest brews from Spaten, Hofbrau, and Paulaner—and those from closer to home from brewers such as Harpoon, Sam Adams, and Shipyard. In addition, the festival will feature a lineup of musical acts, including What Matters and Those Guys.
Doherty's East Avenue Irish Pub, whose whopping 82 taps helped earn it an award for Best Bar and Beer Selection in The Phoenix's Best of Providence 2011, will anchor the celebration from their dark-wood bar. The bar itself serves a host of culinary treats from Prince Edward Island mussels in zesty zuppa sauce to blackened jerk salmon. An outdoor patio plays host to al fresco dining and lassoing the moon to impress dates.
Books Through Bars, Inc. provides free reading materials for prisoners across the country. Every month, it receives more than 120 letters from prisoners requesting books. The organization responds by sending donated volumes from individuals, libraries, and community organizations, making selections based on the stated preferences of the inmate. Reading the books provides a productive activity for the inmates and can help them develop politically, spiritually, and academically during their time in prison.
Drawing creative inspiration from hobbies that include crafting and cooking, photographer Jennifer Owens specializes in capturing spur-of-the-moment images of engaged couples, families, and newborns. She also shares her expertise in classes that introduce beginners to concepts such as adjusting ISO settings on a digital camera or using the right shutter speed for moving subjects. Owens is equally comfortable in outdoor settings, and can demonstrate how to take advantage of the magical "golden hour," the time around dawn or dusk when the sun adds warmth to portraits and turns photographers’ photos of raw pizza dough into fully baked pizzas.
Since its inception, Wheelchair Recycler has supplied more than 500 refurbished power wheelchairs to people with disabilities, increasing their mobility, independence, and self-confidence. For this campaign, Wheelchair Recycler will supply one power wheelchair for a child returning to school, whether to use as a secondary chair or as a replacement for an outgrown one. Donations will also go toward specially modifying a wheelchair for a second child who plays wheelchair soccer, thus bolstering his or her ability to engage in social and physical activities.
Jeffrey Hall will never toss a wrapper out the car window again. That’s because he knows that every piece of trash strewing the highway’s meridian attracts mice. And mice attract hungry hawks, who can’t always dodge oncoming trucks. Not everyone is so aware of the potential far-reaching implications of a single fast-food wrapper, but the Audubon Society director learned such lessons long ago, seeing first-hand the victims of those circumstances in injured hawks and falcons on just such a rescue.
Now, Jeffrey hopes to spark a similar awareness in his fellow Rhode Islanders. “When people learn about plants and animals, they appreciate them. And once they appreciate them, they want to save them,” says Mr. Hall. As no one in Rhode Island lives more than 20 minutes from an Audubon Society wildlife refuge, he's certain they can find ample opportunities to do so. In addition to conserving land for hikes and staring contest with owls, the Society boasts an Environmental Education Center, which hosts events, programs, and interactive exhibits year-round. For the Audubon Society to thrive, Jeffrey knows the organization's programs must inspire young stewards. “They’ll grow up to be the voters who want to protect this land,” he says. That's why, among the many programs guests can partake in, the society also offers birthday parties and kid-friendly classes.