Providence Children's Museum Updates Coming to Rhode Island Exhibit

The environment teaches empathy and respect for various cultures through interactive storytelling and play.


Building Fort Adams at the Providence Children's Museum.

The Providence Children’s Museum got a makeover just in time for the New Year! The popular Coming to Rhode Island exhibit has been renovated and reopened in late-November to celebrate diversity in America through stories that highlight how various immigrants arrived in the Ocean State. The environment teaches empathy and respect for various cultures through interactive storytelling and play, which is especially important with current events in this day and age.

Coming to Rhode Island shares real, historical stories about how people from all over the world immigrated here. Children will learn about immigrants’ challenges in a new world, and the solutions they found for adapting to life in Rhode Island. “Research shows that pretend play is one of the best ways for children to develop empathy and other social skills for living in the world today – and this is just what happens in Coming to Rhode Island,” says museum exhibits director Robin Meisner, in a press release.

Visitors will travel through a time tunnel and experience four interactive areas featuring various personal stories about immigration. A new gallery highlights the life of John Quigley, a pre-famine Irish immigrant who helped build Fort Adams in Newport from 1831 to 1841.The exhibit includes murals and historic figures hand painted by Rhode Island artist Harley Bartlett. Children can explore brick and stone corridors and tunnels, dress up in period appropriate costumes, use materials to build the fort’s walls and arches and investigate tools and documents of the trade from the 1800s and about the Quigley family’s history.

It’s still school vacation time, so head to the museum and check out the latest updates. There will also be a special New Year’s activity on Dec. 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., when children can make noisemakers, shakers, popsicle stick harmonicas and more to ring in 2017.

Exhibits and activities are free with $9 museum admission. For more information about Coming to Rhode Island and related activities, visit

Drawing self portraits at the children's museum.
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