Rhode Island is a beautiful state, with lots of interesting, educational museums to visit. Here’s five of the best for you and your family to visit next time you’re in Rhode Island.
Located in Newport a stone’s throw from Easton Bay, the Breakers is a beautiful-preserved mansion from the Gilded Age. Cornelius Vanderbilt II commissioned famed architect Richard Morris Hunt to construct the palatial estate in 1892, with construction wrapping up in 1895. Resplendent and opulent, this summer “cottage” contains 70 rooms, which each decked out in gold leaf, elaborate paints, and rich fabrics. Guided tours are available, and tickets start at $21. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with some exceptions. And if you want to make a day of seeing how the other half lived, check out Newport’s four other Gilded Age mansions too.
The National Museum of American Illustration hosts illustrations by famed American artists like Norman Rockwell and N.C. Wyeth, with a special focus on illustrations published in periodicals like the Saturday Evening Post. The museum is housed in the Vernon Court, another Gilded Age mansion in Newport, and situated only a few blocks from the Breakers. Visitors can see the second-largest collection of Normal Rockwell illustrations outside of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts, as well as works by more than 150 other American illustrators. Open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with guided tours available on Fridays at 3 p.m. Adult admission is $18.
As the museum associated with the famed Rhode Island School of Design, the RISD Museum contains an exceptional collection of ancient, classical, and contemporary art. Located in the heart of downtown Providence, the museum boasts an extraordinary collection of work, including more than 25,000 prints, drawings, and photographs. Visitors can also find paintings from masters like Monet, Degas, Cézanne, Rodin, Matisse and Picasso. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended evening hours and free admission on the third Thursday of each month. Adult admission is $12.
If you’ve got kids in tow, the Providence Children’s Museum is a great choice for a day out. The museum contains a variety of fun, hands-on exhibits for children aged 1 to 11, including a two-story high climbing maze and a tree house made especially for kids under 4 and their caregivers. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from April to August and more limited hours in the off-season. Admission is $9 for adults and children, and free for babies under 12 months.
The Culinary Arts Museum of Providence maintains a collection of more than 200,000 cooking-related items, including more than 30,000 cookbooks. Alongside that library, visitors can see a huge collection of kitchen and cooking ephemera, including vintage advertisements, packaging, and photographs. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $7.