Dear Members & Friends,
Now, more than ever, we need you to help us preserve and celebrate our Block Island history. This year, as much as any year in our living history, our mission is clear. One hundred years from now, what will be written about the extraordinary times in which we now live? What meaning will they ascribe to how we lived our lives during this pandemic and social unrest? The Block Island Historical Society is excited to spend this next year not just looking back, but actively engaging in history. Join us in this important work!
This summer, the Society came together to maintain our operations and community presence despite challenging circumstances and furloughed staff. Although our doors are closed, we have been busy reimagining our Museum, transforming and refreshing our exhibits, digital presence and programming. When you visit the Museum, in-person or virtually, you’ll enjoy a different and enhanced experience. Thanks to grants from the Oppenheimer Family Foundation, the Roosa Fund, the R.I. Committee for the Humanities, and our many volunteers, we’ve taken our downtown tour virtual and the Block Island Beginnings exhibit online. More virtual exhibits, including historic slide shows, will follow!
It was rewarding to host so many people at our first Zoom Annual Meeting in an illuminating look back on the settlement of the Island and the role of Black and Indigenous communities on Block Island. These presentations challenge our assumptions of Block Island history and dare us to dig more deeply into our history. You can see the presentation on our website. Let us know what you think!
In the end, it was a productive and thought-provoking season. This would not have been possible without our membership, volunteers and the passion of the Board of Directors. We are grateful to the Champlin Foundation and The 1772 Foundation/Preserve RI for continued support and, as ever, to YOU, our supporters.
The reality of limited in-person visitation is likely to persist through 2021, and we will need your help keeping us relevant and strong. Please renew your membership and include your email address so that we can communicate with you year-round. We hope you will consider a more generous donation than ever, not only for preserving the past but also for making some history of our own.
Bob Champagne-Willis, President & Pamela Littlefield Gasner, Executive Director
Donations to our Annual Fund are always very much appreciated. Fill out the form below, and your donation will be processed securely through PayPal.
We have recently received a $43,000 matching grant from the Champlin Foundation to restore the original windows and install custom storm windows on the Historical Society building. That’s great news, but to get the matching funds, we need your donations! If you’d like to have your donation matched, please check “I would like to designate this donation to a specific fund” below and choose “Window Fund.” We received in early 2020 a $9500 grant in from the 1772 Foundation/Preserve R.I. to restore the cupola and four windows.
Join the Society and be part of our mission to celebrate and preserve the history of Block Island! We offer a variety of different membership levels; choose the one that’s appropriate for you. All members receive free admission to the Museum, as well as discounts on event tickets.
Even if you’re not ready to become a member, you can also support the Society by visiting our Shop and Museum.