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State Archives exhibition lets you experience Rhode Island in 1776

PROVIDENCE, RI Have you ever seen a copy of the Declaration of Independence in person? Do you know what George Washington's handwriting looks like?

In 1776, the fight for independence and the birth of our nation forever changed the international landscape. Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea encourages all Rhode Islanders to visit the new exhibition at the Rhode Island State Archives, entitled "1776 Rhode Island in the Year of Independence."

The exhibition chronicles emerging hostilities with Britain in the run-up to the Revolutionary War, the issuance of the Declaration of Independence, and Rhode Island's response during that time frame, including:

A first Newport printing of the Declaration of Independence, sent by order of the General Assembly to Rhode Island towns.

A letter from General George Washington to Governor Nicholas Cooke requesting arms for the Revolutionary Army.

The July 19, 1776 Act officially naming our colony the "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations."

"Rhode Island played a critical role in founding of our nation. I encourage all Rhode Islanders to come and discover the historical treasures we have in our State Archives. It's exciting to see firsthand the amazing documentation of our rich and diverse history," Secretary Gorbea said.

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.


Related links

  • Department or agency: Office of the Secretary of State
  • Online:
  • Release date: 07-01-2016

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