Imagine receiving a set of keys to historic homes, theaters, sacred spaces, secret vaults, studios and more, for free. For one day, the Doors Open Rhode Island Festival provided free, special access to 24 one-of-a-kind places across Providence. We already wrapped up our first festival, but look forward to organizing another one in 2019.
On Saturday, September 23 we handed the keys of the city over to the people. We opened the doors to 24 unique locations across Providence, providing behind-the-scenes access without tickets or reservations. A free event, we welcomed more than 4,000 people who made a total of 20,000 visits inside some of our greatest treasures. It was magical.
What follows is an archive of the 2017 Doors Open RI Festival.
HOW IT WORKS:
When is the festival?
The Festival will be from 10am-6pm on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Open access times for individual sites vary.
Do I need tickets?
This is a FREE public event — no tickets or reservations needed. Lines may be expected at certain locations. Volunteers and other supporters of the Festival are offered priority access.
Where can I get my Event Guide?
What are the participating locations?
You’ll find information about participating locations below as well as listed in our event guide (see above). Venues and details may change, however, so keep checking back here for the most up-to-date information on participating locations.
How can I keep up to date?
Which sites are handicap accessible?
We want to make this Festival fun for everyone. Sites marked with a wheelchair icon are handicap accessible. The handicap entrance may not be immediately visible, but just ask the volunteer up front and they should be able to make accommodations for you.
How do I get around the Festival?
Doors Open Rhode Island is committed to minimizing the impact of our Festival on the environment, and encourage you to travel green. There are many ways to explore festival sites: walk, ride your bike or take the RIPTA bus for free! RIPTA is providing complimentary transportation between participating venues along existing RIPTA bus routes. Show your Doors Open RI/RIPTA button, available for pickup on September 23 at all festival sites, to any RIPTA driver to board the city bus (and then take it home as your souvenir!)
Parking may also be available at certain locations further away from the city center. Free parking will be available in the lots surrounding the State House and other Capitol Hill buildings.
Is this the only Doors Open Festival?
Our Festival is part of a worldwide movement of citywide Doors Open and Open House events connecting the public to the great places and spaces of their communities.
Can I take pictures?
You are welcome to take pictures inside of all participating locations. Don’t forget to share them with us! #doorsopenri
How Can I Support the Doors Open RI Festival?
Though our festival is free, it isn’t free to organize. We depend on donations from people like you to make our programming possible. Every bit helps. Please support our festival and other programs by making a donation today!
Explore the Sites
Click each site for more details!
21 Brown St.
176 Benefit St.
276 North Main St.
12pm – 6pm
52 Power St.
Brown University, 210 Doyle Ave.
11am – 3pm
13 Waterman St.
7 N. Main St. (Metcalf Building)
15 Hopkins St.
Click each site for more details!
130 Westminter St.
30 Fenner St.
63 Eddy St.
300 Westminster St.
25 Dorrance St.
225 Washington St.
1 Union Station
1 Union Station
82 Smith St.
Explore the Programs
Doors Open RI Programs
Aurora Providence: 276 Westminster Street
Sat. Sept. 23
5:00-5:45, 6:15 to 7:00, 7:30 to 8:15
Come enjoy a beverage with historian Ned Connors at the Aurora for three extraordinary stereopticon shows. Travel back in time as we revisit late 19th-century Providence, when photographers plied the city to produce stereo images of its streets, squares, waterfront and scenic features. Strap on a pair of 3D glasses to witness life-sized scenes of a dynamic, prosperous Victorian Providence projected onto the silver screen.
Seating is limited. Admittance to the three shows will be through advance ticket distribution and first come, first serve Learn More >
Atlantic Mills: 120 Manton Ave.
Sat. Sept. 23; 10am-4pm
Experience the sights and sounds of the Industrial Revolution like never before! Once one of the nation’s most productive textile mills, Atlantic Mills will play host to a special pop-up exhibit and experiential audio installation. Robby McCall, who has overseen the maintenance of Atlantic Mills for decades, will present artifacts and archival images he has collected from throughout the building’s history inside one of its storied towers. At the same time, visitors will experience sounds from the building’s heyday as a textile mill through a one-time-only, immersive sound installation by Erik Carlson. Learn More >
Doors Open RI is thrilled to be a part of the 4th annual DESIGN WEEK RI featuring 12 days of highly curated events showcasing the innovation and economic impact of the design sector in Rhode Island. Join the conversation!
Waterfire: September 23
What better way to end your day exploring the great treasures of Providence than to see the city sparkle in the moonlight? Experience a full WaterFire lighting of 80 sparkling bonfires along the Providence River. Begins at sunset.
Ocean State Oyster Festival: September 23
When you need a break from your Providence explorations and start to feel hungry, head over to the Ocean State Oyster Festival for some delicious food and relaxing atmosphere. In partnership with Save the Bay, the festival celebrates Rhode Island’s aquaculture industry and supports the environmental sustainability of Narragansett Bay.
Doors Open Rhode Island connects people to local places of cultural, historical and architectural significance in an effort to bridge communities and inspire new perspectives on our cities. We provide behind-the-scenes access to Rhode Island’s best-kept secrets through innovative programs and tours planned throughout the year, culminating in a free, citywide, open house festival. Through welcoming the public inside the gems at the heart of our communities, we believe that we can strengthen the connections between people and the places around them. In this sense, we aim to transform our residents into advocates for our built environment and ambassadors for Rhode Island.
Though most of our programs are free for participants, they aren’t free to organize. We depend on grants and contributions from people like you to fund the staffing, program supplies, and other administrative costs that make our programs possible. Join the Doors Open RI family by making a donation today. Every bit helps.