Heritage Harbor Foundation
c/o Dr. Patrick T. Conley, President
1445 Wampanoag Trail, Suite #201
East Providence, RI 02915
(401) 433-0044
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Guide for the study of Rhode Island history

Heritage Harbor Foundation Grants Award Program 2016

Recently, the Heritage Harbor Foundation awarded over $137,000 in grant money to nine Rhode Island organizations. The purpose of the grants was the support of projects aimed at increasing the history literacy level of adult Rhode Islanders and school-age students.

Save the Bay was awarded $21,278 towards creating a history of environmental advocacy in time for its 50th anniversary in the year 2020. The Newport Historical Society received $20,000 for documenting the legacy of Native Americans on Aquidneck Island. The Rhode Island Council on the Humanities received $20,000 for expanding ‘Rhode Tour,’ an app devoted to interpreting Rhode Island historic sites using smart phones and tablets. The Steamship Historical Society was awarded $20,000 for a web-based learning experience for secondary students and general public, fostering the awareness of Rhode Island’s maritime heritage. The Museum of Work and Culture received $19,000 for the purchase of a multitouch computer table bringing alive the worker memories and the images of mills in Woonsocket and the Blackstone Valley. Stages of Freedom was awarded $17,500 for an oral history project centered on Providence’s Lippitt Hill neighborhood. Lippitt House’s grant of $7,220 serves a program addressing adult English-language learners around the theme of immigration history in Rhode Island. Beavertail Lighthouse Museum won $6,259 for purchase and installation of advanced touch screen displays describing the history and technical information of the lighting, lenses, and fuels used by lighthouses in Narragansett Bay since 1749. Pawtuxet Village Association was awarded $6,300 to digitize ‘The Bridge,’ the community history-based periodical and to conduct workshops and tours designed to acquaint the public with the layers of life in the village dating back to the time of Roger Williams and Samuel Gorton.

The Heritage Harbor Foundation is the outgrowth of a movement begun in the 1980s to create Rhode Island’s own state history museum. Rhode Island is one of only four states without such an institution. The museum was at an 80% development point in the former Narragansett Electric South Street power station in 2006 when the downturn in the economy and the change in the state’s historic tax credit program caused its development partner, Struever, Eccles, and Rouse of Baltimore to withdraw. Unable to continue its museum course, Heritage Harbor Corporation used its dual identity and switched from museum to foundation. A clause in its deed from Narragansett Electric enabled it to sell its interest in the building and use the proceeds to create a grant-making endowment carrying out its mission and promises to donors. The endowment is lodged at the Rhode Island Foundation.

By seeking applications from other museums and historical groups willing to carry out the thematic fields which would have been museum exhibits the Heritage Harbor Foundation is meeting the intent and wishes of its many donors. The fundamental aim of the Heritage Harbor project has been to feature history programs of such an all-inclusive nature that all Rhode Islanders can see their own history celebrated and thus be encouraged to participate fully in the state’s civic life.

Nearly all of the organizations recognized in this first cycle of grants were at the final stages of their projects, needing only the critical margin of support from Heritage Harbor to push them over their goal line.

For more information about the Foundation and its grant programs, explore this website or call Foundation President Patrick Conley (#273-1787).

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