LTE: Historical Society’s ‘exciting year’

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — The following letter to the editor, submitted by Doug Smith and written by Jim Garman, discusses the Portsmouth Historical Society’s “exciting year” and upcoming events. 

The Portsmouth Historical Society has had a very exciting year. We started in January with a lecture on Prudence Island by a member of the Prudence Island Historical Society. In the spring, we held two Portsmouth History Trivia contests, one for high school and middle school students and one for adults, and we plan to continue this tradition in 2018. We hosted showings of our original Portsmouth Compact and Declaration of Independence at Portsmouth Town Hall, several lectures on Portsmouth and other local history, and held a celebration of Anne Hutchinson’s birthday in July. We hosted a workshop on Historic Cemetery Restoration and began to assist the town in updating its inventory of historic cemeteries. In collaboration with the Portsmouth Community Theater, we held a new version of “History Comes Alive”, in which characters from Portsmouth’s past showed our visitors what life was like in earlier times. We also hosted a “paint-in” and art show in partnership with the Portsmouth Arts Guild. These and other events were meant to showcase and explain the town of Portsmouth’s fascinating history as the second oldest community in Rhode Island.

Our main building, the historic Union Church building on East Main Road, will soon have a new coat of paint inside and out, as well as several much-needed repairs to our windows and other areas. We hope visitors will come and see all of these improvements when we open in the spring.

Our mission is to preserve, promote and protect our local history and we feel that thanks to public support, we are making progress in all three areas.

On Friday, 8 December, the Newport Navy Choristers will be conducting a Christmas concert, “Christmas in Song”, to benefit our Society at St. Barnabas church in Portsmouth. This will be a great way to end the year and we hope everyone takes this opportunity to bring their friends and family to enjoy this community event, guaranteed to instill the Christmas spirit for the weeks ahead. Tickets are on sale at the Clements Market Customer Service desk and will also be sold by Society Board members in the foyer of Clements on Friday, 1 December, from 10:30 to 1:30.

They are also available from all Portsmouth Historical Society Board members, online at and at the door.

We want to thank everyone for their support over the course of this year, and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Jim Garman
President, Portsmouth Historical Society

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