It started in 1981 as "The Newport Film Society," and by 1983, it had become the area's very first international film festival. Today, the tradition continues under the moniker of Flickers: Rhode Island International Film Festival. Despite the change in name and audiences' evolving tastes in popcorn, the event's mission remains constant: to showcase features, documentaries, and shorts by independent filmmakers from across the globe. Ranked as one of the top 10 short film festivals and top 10 international film festivals in Chris Gore's The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide, RIIFF is also among the few such events recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to qualify short films for Oscar gold.
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."
RISD Museum’s first public galleries were brought to life in 1893, and since then, the museum has become a powerhouse of creativity. Hosting a collection of 84,000 objects of fine, decorative art from eras both ancient and modern, the museum entices eyes with multitudes of exhibits and collections. With admission to the museum’s galleries, which are spread throughout five buildings, artoholics get a day to explore indoors and avoid the sun during fall, when it is a mere 75 feet from Earth's surface.
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.
With roughly 12,000 square feet of verdant plant life, Roger Williams Park Botanical Center has earned the distinction as New England's largest indoor garden. Unveiled in 2007, most of that space comprises The Conservatory and Mediterranean Room greenhouses, where 150-plus species dwell, from cacti and aloe to 17 varieties of palm. Even more plants spread their roots in the park's outdoor grounds, which include a perennial garden, a wooded hillside garden, and a rose maze. Though self-guided treks are a breeze here, the center also hosts tours led by trained University of Rhode Island master gardeners, who explain each plant's characteristics and how it adapts to its climate. For youngsters, meanwhile, the Learning Landscapes program encourages hands-on activities, including stroking a coyote's fur and feeding artisanal flies to discerning Venus flytraps.
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.