Schoolhouse to Library to Museum
The Jamestown Historical Society’s museum building at 92 Narragansett Avenue was originally built in 1885 as a one-room primary school. From 1898 to 1971, the building was the town’s library. In 1971 when the current library was built, the Jamestown Historical Society leased the old library for use as a museum.
In 2008 the interior of the building was refurbished, elements of the original schoolhouse were restored, and insulation, heating, and air conditioning were installed. A new entry, handicapped access, and new landscaping were completed. Further exterior renovations were completed in 2023 with the help of a grant from The 1772 Foundation in cooperation with Preserve Rhode Island. Rinaldi Brothers Roofing donated a new roof, and the Palmieri Trust funded an extensive landscaping redesign.
Each year a new exhibit is created and displayed in the Jamestown Historical Society Museum. The 2023 exhibit, Celebrating Jamestown Ferries: 150th Anniversary of Jamestown’s First Steam Ferry, celebrates the anniversary of the first steam ferry going into service in Jamestown.
The Jamestown Museum will be open from 1 to 4 pm every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday plus holidays from Friday, May 26 to Monday, October 9, 2023. It may be open by appointment at other times. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
(Members-only event: Museum Opening Reception, 5 pm – 7 pm, Thursday, May 25. New members may join here.)
The society welcomes anyone interested in being a docent at the museum and greeting our visitors.
Browse through time
A new schoolhouse for the lower grades opens on the west side of Southwest Avenue, not far from the Four Corners. The schoolhouse stands 50 feet back from the road on a half-acre lot. A fence encloses the rear yard. The boys and girls have separate entry doors and separate playgrounds.
The primary school building is moved to the Artillery Lot. The Jamestown Philomenian Library Association moves the library books, formerly kept in various places around town, into the building.
The new library on North Road opens. The Jamestown Historical Society leases the old library to use as a museum. The museum opens the following year with an exhibit of memorabilia from the ferryboat era.