A visit to the Museum of Natural History & Planetarium will take you on a journey to discover the world around you and beyond. Open since 1896, the museum houses natural history and cultural collections, from local sources and from around the world. Aside from the main exhibits and housing the state's only public planetarium, the museum features programs as well as scientific and cultural events aimed at children, adults, families, and scouts, thus living up to its reputation as "The People's University."
Ease into the day with a 6:45 a.m. Vinsyana yoga class with rising-sun salutations on Mondays or empower your prettiest part with a belly-dance class on Thursdays. Hula-hoop dance and urban hip-hop bring rhythm, grace, and choreography into any weekly routine or routine of salvaging dryer lint to stuff a spare mattress. New classes are added to The Spot's schedule about every six weeks, so fast learners can mix and match their five to master the fancy footwork of a wide array of dances (all classes must be redeemed within five weeks of attending the first session.)
Since the days of President Lincoln, Providence Picture Frame’s expert artisans have been assembling wood, metal, glass, and mats into stunning artwork displays. Staff usher in homeless pictures of all sizes, eager to measure, examine, and fit them with customized metaphorical mansions. Pricing for custom framing varies based on size, style, and materials used, starting at $50, with premade frames starting as low as $25 for an 11" x 14" frame. All work is performed on-site by highly experienced craftspeople and designers, who work with customers to provide options that fit with most budgets, like a carpenter waiting to whittle down square pegs until they fit into round holes.
Serving the southern New England area for more than 30 years, the Providence Children's Museum allows parents and children to educationally interact with each other through two floors of hands-on exhibits and programs that help children discover art, culture, history, and science. In Bone Zone, tots can attempt to put together a life-sized skeleton puzzle, older siblings can examine the inside of a bone through a microscope, and parents are kindly fed answers to their kids' questions by the friendly staff. Downstairs, families can explore the science of fluid dynamics, building mazes and fountains that teach the fundamentals of water flow and pressure, while artists of tomorrow can go upstairs to Shape Space, where magnetic shapes and wooden blocks can be used to increase knowledge of spatial relationships by building three-dimensional models of Pat Boone's four-car garage.
The Paul Krot Community Darkroom at AS220 is the only black and white photo facility in Rhode Island offering affordable public access to skilled snappers and amateur aperture setters. Classes occur bi-monthly on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 7-10 p.m., and cover all the basics of manual 35mm shooting, such as shutter speeds, f-stop setting, ISO numbers, clutch popping, focal lengths, and minimizing glowy mouth. Class sizes are kept to five or fewer students in order to ensure each developing documenter gets personal attention. Once they've mastered the art of lens and light manipulation, students are ushered into the community darkroom to explore the chemical processes needed to advance their newborn negatives into fully mature prints in sizes ranging from 4" x 5" to 20" x 24".
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.