Doors Open Rhode Island Festival
Saturday, September 23rd, 2017
Mark your calendars for the chance to explore some of Rhode Island’s best-kept secrets: Doors Open Rhode Island’s FREE citywide open house festival on Saturday, September 23. For this one day, we will provide you with behind-the-scenes access to 20+ cultural, historical, and architectural spaces around Providence.
Photo by Francesca Gallo
Sons of Jacob Synagogue: Open House
Sunday, June 25th 12:00-3:00 PM
24 Douglas Ave. Providence
On Sunday, June 25th, over 400 people joined Doors Open Rhode Island for a free open house event at the Sons of Jacob Synagogue with an extra special welcome from the boundlessly energetic President of the synagogue, Harold Silverman. For many years, there was a thriving Jewish community in the old North End along Orms Street, Douglas Avenue, and Chalkstone Avenue. Though most of the 300 families that made up the congregation of Sons of Jacob have since moved to Providence’s East Side and surrounding suburbs, a small group continues to worship in the warmth of the richly textured ground floor built in 1906.
We had the rare opportunity to explore the synagogue, including the second floor sanctuary added in 1922. When the lights are turned on it transforms into a jewel box unlike anything else in Providence. Visitors had the chance to admire unique murals depicting animals, trompe-l’oeil scenery, and the Jewish zodiac glow in the warm light of dozens of old lightbulbs and a crystal chandelier. We explored this historic religious gem with klezmer music and refreshments, and learned about the synagogue’s history, its neighborhood, and plans for the future.
Watch a short clip from our Open House Program at the Sons o fJacob Synagogue, accompanied by Klezmer music!
Photo by Christian Scully / Design Imaging Studios
Steeple Tour of First Unitarian Church
Friday, May 26 12-1pm
Join Doors Open Rhode Island on a rarely experienced tour through the secret spaces of the First Unitarian Church of Providence (1816). We’ll admire the expansive sanctuary, peek inside the structural framework that holds up the interior dome, and then climb to the top of the church’s iconic tower for the best views of Providence. Once at the top, ring the largest bell ever forged by Paul Revere and Son. Thank you to church member Richard Boober for being our guide up through some of the church’s hardest to reach areas. Can you imagine a better way to spend your lunch hour?
Note that this tour is not handicapped accessible and does require climbing and squeezing through tight spaces. Please wear comfortable shoes! People who suffer from claustrophobia are advised to avoid this experience. You will be asked to sign a waiver before climbing the steeple stairs.
This tour sold out quickly. Sign up for our mailing list to be the first to know about the next one!
Photo courtesy of Christian Scully / Design Imaging Studios
Providence City Hall: Behind-the-Scenes Tour
Thursday April 20th 5:30pm
Are you curious to explore the attic of Providence’s City Hall or learn how our City Council works? Have you ever seen Patriarca’s first mug shot, the city’s 1637 compact or 1648 charter? If so, join us on a tour of the building led by our friends in the city’s archives, Britni Gorman and Caleb Horton. We’ll see some of our greatest Providence treasures, visit the alderman chambers, meet a council person, and travel up into the building’s attic!
Funeral for the Fogarty Building
Friday March 17, at 4pm
On Friday March 17, we gathered around the open casket of the recently passed Fogarty Building in downtown Providence to say goodbye. Only 49 years old, the Fogarty was our most significant brutalist building in downtown Providence. Built as the home for RI’s department of Health and Human Services, soon it will be replaced by a hotel.
The building had some friends and many foes, we heard from both in eulogies delivered by several people who knew the building best. After the funeral we processed around the building with our kazoos to a nearby watering hole to reflect on the life of our friend and changes in our city.
All photography courtesy of Christian Scully / Design Imaging Studios
Watch a short clip of the funeral procession as shot by our friend Mike Cohea.
Behind-the-Scenes Tour at Trinity Rep
Monday, March 6 @12pm
In celebration of the 100 year anniversary of Trinity Repertory Company’s building, and the great success of their new show “a Midsummer Night’s Dream,” join us on a behind-the-scenes lunchtime tour of the theater. We’ll check out the props storage area in the building’s basement, visit the costume shop and even take an elevator ride up to the stage just as if we’re part of the show. As if that’s not enough, we’ll also meet some of the people who make Trinity Rep’s awesome shows possible.
Please note that this tour involves a lot of stairs and is not handicap accessible.
Monday, March 6 12-12:45pm
THIS TOUR IS SOLD OUT!
Open House at Barnaby Castle
Jan. 28, 12-3pm
With its ornate detailing, extravagant roofline and storied past, Barnaby’s Castle is a hallmark of Victorian design and one of the great cornerstones of Providence’s Westend. The home, built in 1875 and updated by Stone, Carpenter and Willson in 1888, lay deteriorating for a number of years. But thanks to the commitment of its new owner and residents, the building is now in the process of restoration.
Join us at our Barnaby Castle Open House for the rare opportunity to experience the inside of this fanciful castle yourself. See the interior detailing, Tiffany windows and intricate woodwork of the lower floors. You’ll learn the story of the building and be introduced to the cast of characters who made this home the talk of 19th century Providence. Meet Mr. and Mrs. Barnaby, their friends and lovers, as well as Mrs. Barnaby’s doctor and accused murderer, Thomas Thatcher Graves.
Mrs. Barnaby met her unfortunate demise through drinking from a bottle of poisoned whisky. If you likewise enjoy a good bottle of (unpoisoned) whisky, you’re in luck. We’re pleased to be partnering with Bottles Fine Wine who will be providing a tasting of a few of their favorite whiskeys. What’s not to like?!
Post Event Reflections
This event was a great success! We welcomed 324 people into Barnaby Castle over the course of three hours, and donated $2,330, or half of our ticket sales, towards the continued restoration of this magnificent home. The other half of our proceeds will be going towards the planning of our fall festival. Bottles Fine Wine and Drizly provided us with a delicious sampling of some of their finest whiskeys, a perfect complement to a fun event! Curious to see the inside of this storied mansion yourself? Stay tuned, as we hope to partner with Barnaby’s Castle again in the future!
Providence City Hall: Behind-the-Scenes Tour
Thursday Nov. 17th 5:30pm
Are you curious what can be found in the attic of Providence’s City Hall? If so, join us on a tour of the building led by our friends in the city’s archives, Britni Gorman and Caleb Horton. We’ll see some of the greatest Providence treasures in the archives like our 1637 compact, 1648 charter and early town records. Next, we’ll briefly check out what a City Council is like in session, visit the alderman chambers and travel up into the building’s attic!
Images from our City Hall Tour
Wish you had been there? Don’t worry, we’re planning another tour for the spring and hope you join us. All above images courtesy of Christian Scully, Design Imaging Studios