Jamestown, Rhode Island
Nearby Museums

 

More than forty museums are located within a 45 minute drive from Jamestown.

Attractions are grouped by their location (town or city) and distance from Jamestown.

Whatever your interests, there is something for you. Take a day, or part of a day, to visit one or more of these sites that focus on history, architecture, decorative arts, fine art, photography, culinary arts, industrial arts, shipbuilding, sailing, crafts of bygone and modern times, steam engines, steam boats, fire fighting, popular culture and other subjects. Be sure to check on operating schedule and possible pre-arrangements.

Jamestown Museums:

 

Jamestown museums include Watson Farm, a living history museum that offers a glimpse into the way most people lived in Jamestown for three hundred years; the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum and aquarium; the Jamestown Fire Department Memorial Museum collection of antique fire fighting equipment; the Sydney L. Wright Memorial Museum collection of artifacts from ancient and Colonial period Narragansett Indians and Seventeenth Century Europeans found in Jamestown in 1966 and 1967; and the Jamestown Museum collection of ferry system memorabilia, historic photos, maps, and other items that help tell the story of Jamestown's history.

Visit the Exploring Jamestown page for more information about these museums and other interesting things to do in Jamestown.
 

Newport Museums:

 
These Newport museums are 3 to 5 miles from Jamestown. Take Route 138 East across the bridge, then Route 238 South to central Newport. Continue to destination. An Interactive Newport Map is available for assistance.
 

Newport museums include eleven Presevation Society of Newport County properties that represent more than 250 years of Newport social and architectural history. Examples are The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms, Rosecliff, Hunter House and Chepstow.

The Newport Restoration Foundation, owns a total of 83 historic structures in and around Newport including Rough Point, Doris Duke's home in Newport; Whitehorne, a Federal home containing the Doris Duke collection of Newport Furniture; and many other restored historic homes. The National Museum of American Illustration displays the largest private collection of works by great illustrators in the architectural setting of Vernon Court.

Additional Newport museums include Astors' Beechwood, a marvelous ocean-front mansion; Belcourt Castle, a spectacular owner-occupied mansion museum; The Newport Historical Society collections of fine and decorative arts, furniture, musical instruments, textiles and clothing and artifacts of everyday life housed in the Museum of Newport History; other Newport Historical Society properties: The Newport Colony House, the Great Friends Meeting House, the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House and The Seventh Day Baptist Meeting House. You can also visit the historic Touro Synagogue, the Newport Postcard Museum and the Naval War College Museum.

The 60 acre campus of Salve Regina University is internationally known as leader in conservation and reuse of historic structures. The International Tennis Hall of Fame portrays the history of the sport, the Newport Art Museum shows historic and contempory Rhode Island works, historic Fort Adams was the largest coastal fortification in the United States, finally, the Museum of Yachting, located within the fort, has 10,000 square feet of historic yachts, including the Courageous, two-time America's Cup winner.

Go to our Visiting Newport page for more detailed information on these Newport museums and other interesting things to do in Newport.
 
Saunderstown Museums:
 
Saunderstown is about 6 travel miles west of Jamestown. Take Route 138 West to 1A South. .
 
Gilbert Stuart Birthplace: Prolific and well-connected, Stuart painted over a thousand portraits including Presidents Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe and other socially prominent men and woman. This site includes a water-wheel powered snuff mill and gardens. The 1750 home features period furnishings. Located on Gilbert Stuart Road, just south of the Jamestown Bridge,between Routes 1 and 1A, Saunderstown, RI.
Signs are on Route 1 (138) as well as 1A. (401) 294-3001
Casey Farm: Built about 1750, overlooking Narragansett Bay, this a prosperous plantation produced food for local and foreign markets until commerce was disrupted by the Revolutionary War. Worked by tenant farmers for two hundred years, it is owned by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. Resident farm managers and member-volunteers raise organically grown vegetables, herbs, and flowers for subscribing households in a Community Supported Agriculture program. 2325 Boston Neck Road Saunderstown, R.I. 02874 (401) 295-1030
 
Wickford Museums:
 
Wickford is 10 miles north of Jamestown via Route 138 West, then US 1 North, or 1A North to US 1.
 

Smith's Castle: Parts of this home date to 1678. Constructed on the site of the original "Smith's Castle". Built upon land called Cocumscussoc, purchased in 1637 by Roger Williams from the legendary Indian leader Conanicus. It was used as a staging area for a Colonist attack on Wampanoag warriors during King Philip's War in 1675. In retaliation, the original house was burned in 1676. Cocumscussoc became one of the great plantations of 18th-century New England, at one point encompassing more than 3,000 acres. It was divided into five farms worked by tenant farmers, indentured servants, and slaves. Bu the end of the Eigthteenth Century the age of plantations had passed and the property was sold off in pieces. It was purchased for preservation and restoration in 1948. A National Landmark site. House tours cost $5, no charge for garden tours.
55 Richard Smith Drive, Wickford RI 02852. Telephone 401 294-35215.

 
Kingston Museums:
 
Kingston and the URI campus is about 13 miles west of Jamestown on Route 138
 
Fine Arts Center Galleries University of Rhode Island: Self-described as a kunsthalle rather than a collecting institution, Rhode Island's official galleries are comprised of three public exhibition areas. Serving the public and students, approximately 18 exhibits are shown annually representing contemporary art from emerging and internationally known artists. Check out the current exhibits in the Main Gallery, Photography Gallery and Corridor Gallery. Admission Free. 105 Upper College Road, Suite One, Kingston, RI 02881-0820 Telephone: 401-874-2627
The International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame & Museum: Housed on the University of Rhode Island campus and administered by the Institute for International Sport, the Hall of Fame and Museum is a comprehensive educational and resource center with an exhibit hall and museum, library, sports photography gallery, artwork displays and a lecture hall/classroom. The first 20 inductees were named in 1999. Additional Hall of Fame inductees are chosen every two years based on distinguished athletic, academic, and humanitarian achievements by an international panel with more than 1,000 members.
3045 Kingstown Road Kingston, RI 02881 Telephone: (401)874-2375
 
Narragansett Museums:
 
Narragansett is about 14 miles south of Jamestown. Take Route 138 West, then US 1 or 1A South.
 

South County Museum: Dedicated to keeping alive the rural, village, and maritime heritage of the past two centuries in the southern Rhode Island region, the museum has more than 20,000 artifacts of local handcrafted technology and everyday life. In its six buildings and living history farm, it also offers glimses into the techniques used to produce these useful items. The main exhibit space is Metz Hall. Ongoing exhibits include Agriculture tools and implements, a recreation of Kenyon's Department Store, Railroads of Southern Rhode Island artifacts and photos, a Country Kitchen and General Store. Other exhibit sites are the Blacksmith Shop, Carpentry Shop, Carriage Barn, One Room Schoolhouse and Print Shop. Strathmore Street, Narragansett RI ( 401) 783-5400.

 
East Greenwich Museums:
 
East Greenwich is about 16 miles north of Jamestown. Take Route 138 West, then US 1 North.
 
The New England Wireless and Steam Museum: This electrical and mechanical engineering museum contains rare early radio and steam apparatus. Part of its mission is helping visitors learn about science, math and physics by reason rather than rote - through seeing how analysis and testing has been used to solve engineering problems and advance these important technologies. With an all-volunteer staff, advance arrangements, usually with group tours and events, are required. (401) 885-0545
1300 Frenchtown Road
East Greenwich RI 02818
Varnum House Museum: :Eight room mansion built in 1773 by James Mitchell Varnum, a lawyer who would soon be drawn into the Revolutionary War and serve as one of General George Washington's Continental Army Brigadier Generals. Furnished with period furniture. Colonial garden. Open June through September. 57 Peirce Street East Greenwich RI. Confirm hours at (401) 884-1776.
Varnum Memorial Armory:The armory, built in 1913, serves as headquarters for the Varnum Continentals and contains an extensive Military & Naval Museum.

Military weapons and artifacts from the 16th Century to the present are on display, including posters, historic uniforms and pictures. The Continentals and the armory are named in honor of James Mitchell Varnum, the first commander of the Kentish Guards, and Brigadier General in the Continental Army.
6 Main Street, East Greenwich RI. Open by appointment. (401)884-4110

 
Bristol Museums:
 
Bristol is between Newport and Providence. From Newport, take Rte. 114 North, across the Mt. Hope Bridge.
 

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum: This 33 acre estate has spectacular lawns and gardens sweeping down to Narragansett Bay. The original mansion, built in the mid-1890s, was destroyed by fire, leading to construction of the current mansion in 1907. More than 1500 trees and shrubs grow along the border of its 10 acre lawn. There are almost 250 kinds of woody plants in the collection. 101 Ferry Road (Rt.114), Bristol, Rhode Island 02809. (401) 253-2707.

 
NOTE: More capsule descriptions of accessible museums will be added as time permits.

Additional nearby museums are located in Providence, Pawtucket, Bristol, Warwick, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Westerly and other locations.

Use the links in the section below to look for other destinations of interest to you.

 

More Museums and Information:

 

Detailed descriptions of many Rhode Island museums are available at a web site maintained by the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau. Others museums can be found on the "Attractions" listings of RITourism.com (for Newport, Newport County, Bristol County, Providence, Providence County, South County, Block Island and Kent County) and on the USA Museum list for Rhode Island.

Other museum and attractions lists are South County museums prepared by the South County Tourism Council, the list of Rhode Island Historic Sites Open to the Public compiled by the State of Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, and lists of Rhode Island museums posted on VirtualCities and Visit Rhode Island.

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Updated April 18, 2004. Direct questions and comments on this site to Webmaster