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State Archives exhibit offers a glimpse into post-Civil War life at Rhode Island's state institutions

A new exhibit at the Rhode Island State Archives, entitled "Charities & Corrections – Life at the State Institutions", features never before seen images and documents chronicling life at the institutions tasked with caring for the poor, disabled, mentally ill, and the incarcerated.

During the late 19th Century, facilities for these populations were established in a rural area of Cranston originally known as the State Farm. These included the state almshouse and hospital for mental diseases, the workhouse, the state prison, and youth correctional facilities. The State Institutions at Howard, as they came to be known, were considered state-of-the-art at the time.

The exhibit, which runs through March 2016, provides viewers with a unique look into a remarkable period in Rhode Island history.

The Rhode Island State Archives, a division of the RI Department of State, is open to the public Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 4:30 at 337 Westminster Street in downtown Providence. Validated parking is available adjacent to the building at InTown Parking. Exhibits of our state's historic archives are developed on a rotating basis throughout the year.

Selected images from the exhibit can be viewed online at the State Archives' Virtual Exhibits page (click on link below).

Related links

  • Department or agency: Office of the Secretary of State
  • Online:
  • Release date: 10-14-2015

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