Rhode Island has a rich and impressive history, extending back through a network of native tribes, early European exploration and a longstanding position as a hub of independent, secular and empathetic thought in the New World.
From key events like the post-King Philip's War era, to the burning of the Gaspee in Pawtuxet harbor, to enactment of The Bill of Rights, the triangle trade, to The Dorr Rebellion, The Industrial Revolution, and its modern day position as a state on the verge of great reinvention, Rhode Island’s history presents a fascinating and enlightening lens to forge a narrative of the evolution of United States.
The State of Rhode Island possesses a vast collection of historical documents and artifacts which, when viewed in tandem with historical context, can transform a person’s understanding and appreciation of many of the key events, periods and people that have come to shape the Ocean State.
As Rhode Island Secretary of State, Nellie Gorbea oversees the Rhode Island State Archives, a facility located in downtown Providence, which offers some modest displays and access to thousands of materials.
However, the current facility is essentially a converted commercial office space, not particularly large or interactive, and seated in the heart of a potential flood zone.
Secretary of State Gorbea has undertaken the beginnings of a legacy project, to oversee the construction of a brand new Rhode Island State Archives and Educational Center, which would be walking distance from The State House, and presented as an impressive and interactive experience.
Secretary Gorbea reached out and asked if I’d like to tour the State Archives with her, talk Rhode Island history, and why a new facility would greatly benefit all Rhode Islanders, and I was very happy to take her up on the offer.