About the Society

Our mission is to collect, preserve, interpret and share Block Island’s past to enrich the present and inspire the future.
The Block Island Historical Society Museum, Gallery & Shop is located in a three-story building with red mansard roof at the intersection of Old Town Road and Ocean Avenue. The intersection is known as Bridgegate Square.

The building is the headquarters for the Historical Society. It is listed as part of the National Register in the Old Harbor Historic District and was originally the home and farm of Gideon Rose. In 1871 it was rebuilt as a summer hotel called the Woonsocket House. The Historical Society purchased the
building in 1945 and continued to rent rooms to summer visitors until the 1970s.

The Museum has an extensive collection of significant artifacts related to Block Island’s history, from Manissean stone tools and points to early New England maritime and farming displays, colonial memorabilia and enlarged vintage photographs capturing life during the Victorian age. Two floors of exhibits include fine furniture, Victorian collectibles, textiles, quilts, boat models, tools, fishing gear, historic maps, and other interesting displays.

Support Block Island History!

The Society is supported by memberships and donations from people like you — people who love the island and see the value in preserving and celebrating its history. Consider helping our mission by becoming a member or making a donation today.

Board of Directors & Staff


  • Robert Champagne-Willis, President
  • Martha Ball, Vice-President
  • Sharon Lehman, Secretary
  • Shirlyne Gobern, Treasurer

Standing Committees

  • Mary E. Anderson, Membership Committee, Chair
  • Gerry Abbott, Museum Committee, Chair
  •                          Nominating Committee, Chair
  • Sue Hagedorn, Program Committee, Chair

Operating Committee

  • Robert Champagne-Willis
  • Mary Anderson
  • Shirlyne Gobern

Board Members

  • Dr. Gerald F. Abbott
  • Mary Anderson
  • Carmen Payne Castellanos
  • Dan Costa
  • Bernice Dangelas
  • Dorothy Findlay
  • Paige Gaffett
  • Sue Hagedorn
  • Kristine Monje
  • Tobee McMellon, Emeritus
  • John Mott
  • Mike O’Brien


  • Hannah Blackwood, Administrative Director
  • Janet Dionis, Visitor Relations, Collections Administrator
  • Ben Hruska, Collections Administrator 

Staff Docents

  • Kathy Lang

Shop Staff

  • Chandler Lawing
  • Angus Brouillard 

Shop Volunteers

  • Amy Jaffe
  • Sharon Lehman
  • Sue Hagedorn
  • Trudy O’Toole