The Block Island Historical Society Museum, Gallery & Shop is located at Bridgegate Square, which is the intersection of Old Town Road and Ocean Avenue. The street address is 18 Old Town Rd, Block Island, RI 02807. Look for a three-story building with red mansard roof.
Research & Tour appointments recommended. Tours can be booked daily.
By appointment only.
Seniors & Military $8
Students (High School/College) $6
Members & Children (Under 12) Free
Guided Museum Tour $15/person
Group rates available
Seasonally rotating exhibits exploring Block Island history.
Walking tours of the Old Harbor, a Manissean Village site, and more.
Artwork, historical photos, maps, T-shirts, and all things Block Island.
The Society hosts a number of popular events on the island.
Block Island’s Sailing Heritage, Past, Present, and Future
As profiled in New England Magazine!
This exhibit presents the long and storied history of sailing on Block Island.
Block Island Beginnings
Updated exhibits tell the story of the Manisses through a full size replica of a shell midden dating 500 BC that also includes displays of stone points and arrowheads to tools and ceramics. (Manisseans were the Indigenous coastal people who inhabited Block Island for over 4000 years.)
The summer exhibit focusing on the maritime history of Block Island encompasses the cultural significance of shell fishing, with their harvest becoming many families summer tradition in Great Salt Pond for visitors and Islanders alike. The quahog shells were traditionally offered as tokens of appreciation and represented as works of art. The Museum will be interpreting this iconic species through scavenger hunts, educational programs and new items in the Gallery and Museum Shop.
Other exhibits showcase printed maps, new information on the archeological surveys conducted around the island since Hurricane Sandy, newly donated artifacts and other memorabilia that give you a peek into daily life and industry on the Island over the past 2500 years. One of the most intriguing items is a sperm whale tooth found at a midden site and new objects and photographs related to scenes that have long disappeared. Not to miss is our postcard collection with images of North and Southeast Lighthouses, historic hotels, farm views with oxcarts, fishing scenes with the daily catch and other scenes of island life.
Block Island History Tours
Walking Tour of Old Harbor
Wednesdays at 10 am, rain or shine. Meet across from the Rebecca statue rotary to the right of the Inn at Old Harbor on the open patio area. Eliot Nerenberg, tour guide. The tour ends at the Museum, and the price includes admission to the exhibits. Limited to nine per tour.
- Adults $15
- Members $10
- Children $5
Native American Village Site Tour
Learn about the indigenous maritime culture of the island with trained guides. “Manisses” was the name given to the island by the Niantic tribe, who may have settled here as early as 500 BC. The Manissean Village Site Tour is a challenging but peaceful walk on a greenway trail on protected Conservancy land. By appointment only.
- Groups of up to 4 people $75
- Each extra person $15
The Society offers custom genealogy tours by appointment, for a cost of $75–$150. If you’re interested in exploring the history of your ancestors on Block Island, get in touch!
Schedule a Tour
- Groups of up to 4 people $75
- Each extra person $10
The Museum Shop offers prints and paintings by Block Island artists, as well as vintage photographs, maps, postcards, posters, and T-shirts. Our friendly staff will help you find the perfect gift, a souvenir to remember your trip by, or something to round out a more serious collection of Block Island art and history. Browse a few of our offerings in the gallery below — but that’s no substitute for coming to see us in person! Drop in any time during museum hours. Or, if you really can’t make it in, get in touch and let us know what you’re looking for.
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.