Caroline Nye ᛫ City Organizer

To lead a walk or get involved in other ways, contact Caroline at caroline@doorsopenri.org

Jane’s Walk Providence

An annual festival of free, resident-led walking conversations

Fri, May 6 – Sun, May 8, 2022

Inspired by urban activist Jane Jacobs, Jane’s Walk encourages people to get out and explore their neighborhoods. Unlike typical guided tours, these free walks are led by volunteer citizen guides who share knowledge of their own communities while inspiring participants to think, talk, and connect. Providence is one of more than 200 participating cities with Jane’s Walks around the world, and that number grows every year.

All Walks are FREE!  |  No Tickets Needed   |   Rain or Shine   |   Wear Comfortable Shoes   



Filled In and Paved Over: Excavating the Layers of Field’s Point

Exhibit at The Providence Public Library

September 20th – December 20th, 2021
during regular library hours

This exhibit is a Project of Doors Open RI, Providence City Archives and the Providence Public Library
Curated by Traci Picard and Dan Mitrovic

There’s a little point of land on the edge of Providence which holds layer upon layer of history. Field’s Point, formerly an island, gives us a way into so many stories about our city. It’s been a wetland and floodplain, a farm, a port and place of quarantine from small pox and yellow fever, a resort known for its clambakes and lively entertainment; it’s been home to a summer program for disadvantaged youth, an emergency shipyard and ultimately a landfill. It’s been filled in and paved over. Today with the instrumental help of its newest tenant and greatest advocate, Save the Bay, it’s being returned to its more natural and healthy state . . . but all of those layers of history remain right on the surface, awaiting your discovery.

Providence Waterways editor and exhibit curator, Traci Picard has spent the last several months on a treasure hunt through Field’s Point uncovering countless artifacts from its shores. Are you missing your 1969 class ring from Mount Pleasant Highschool? It’s been found along with old race cars, a model ship, dozens of forks and spoons, gears, keys, pottery fragments and even a ceramic representation of Saint Mary. Using artifacts, documents, historic maps and images, you’re invited to join us in exploring these layers of history together at the exhibit Filled In and Paved Over: Excavating the Layers of Field’s Point on view now at the Providence Public Library.

This exhibit was produced as part of Providence Waterways: a multimedia, collaborative, storytelling project by Doors Open RI. Through a combination of online and onsite experiences, Providence Waterways invites you to take a deep dive into place-based stories, sounds, and events that explore Providence’s water.  To read the full story about the history of Field’s Point written by curator Traci Picard, check out our Providence Waterways StoryMap.

The Field’s Point Curiosity Box

You are invited to join exhibit co-curators of this exhibition to peek inside . . . The Curiosity Box. This box contains a special selection of artifacts from Field’s Point which you can view and touch. We hope these objects and the conversations we’ll have will inspire you to create something of your own!

We suggest 2 options: 

  • Write a short story based on an object.
  • Draw a picture inspired by an object.

This is not an academic exercise, but a creative one and you can really let your imagination flow here! If a poem or a photo essay strikes your fancy, we’ll welcome it. Paper and pencils will be provided, and you may bring your computer or device if preferred. We welcome you to submit your piece to Providence Waterways for an online gallery.

The Curiosity Box will be open at the
Providence Public Library:


Events are free and open to the public, but registration is required. Please click on the links above to register for the date[s] of your choice.

Providence Waterways is sponsored by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, the Rhode Island Foundation, the City of Providence Department of Arts Culture and Tourism, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the Providence Streets Coalition. Special Thanks to the Providence Public Library for their partnership and for hosting this exhibition.

Providence Waterways 

This summer and fall, Doors Open RI is taking Rhode Islanders on a deep dive into our waterways through a multimedia, collaborative storytelling project. Through a combination of online and onsite experiences, Providence Waterways invites our community to immerse in place-based stories, sounds, and events that explore Providence’s water.

Providence Waterways launches on Saturday, August 21st with TIDAL RESONANCE, an afternoon of participatory artistic experiences in India Point Park inspired by our waterways and their tides. Performances curated by Shey Rivera and Seth Tourjee featuring Anthony “AM.” Andrade, Becci Davis, and Lilly E. Manycolors. FREE EVENT!


Saturday, August 21 2-5:30pm

India Point Park, Providence



Bring your headphones for the debut of our augmented reality, locative sound project aims to get you out and about, exploring the areas around the waterways of Providence. Join us in listening to and contributing your own voice to a growing body of place-based audio addressing the histories, sounds and stories connected to this city’s water as you walk through the city with your mobile device.

Sound composition and design by Nadav Assor and Jake Sokolov-Gonzalez, and featuring stories and sounds by Sussy Santana, Janaya Kizzie, AM Andrade, and two collaborative sound pieces: one by Mary-Kim Arnold and Bonnie Jones, and a second one by Emily Dix Thomas and Seth Tourjee. This experience is curated by Seth Tourjee and Shey Rivera Ríos. Free admission.

Most importantly, we’re inviting YOU to join us in tracing Providence’s waterways. Help us connect the pathways of our water through your own city explorations, by adding your stories, images, and sounds to our growing collection. #pvdwaterways 

For more information and updates on Providence Waterways, sign up for our mailing list or visit pvdwaterways.org


A Project of Doors Open RI

Co-directed by Caroline Nye Stevens and Francesca Gallo.
Research by Sam Coren and Traci Picard.
Artistic curation by Seth Tourjee and Shey Rivera Ríos.
Sound Composition and Design by Nadav Assor and Jacob Sokolov-Gonzalez, with support from Halsey Burgund.

Photos courtesy of James Turner

Hear all about it! Our program in the news:

Curtains Up!

a Peek Behind-the-Scenes at the Providence Performing Arts Center

Saturday February 1, 2020 (1-3pm) – FREE EVENT!

On Saturday, February 1st we welcomed 1545 people for a behind-the-scenes look at Providence’s most spectacular theatre. Opened in 1928 as “Loew’s State”, the largest movie palace in Southern New England, it was designed by renowned theatre architects C.W. and George Rapp of Chicago known for their opulent and grand designs. It was a roaring success, but eventually the popularity of televisions took a toll on the theatre and attendance declined. The building’s careful restoration over the course of decades and its rebirth as Rhode Island’s premier Broadway theatre has played a vital role in Providence’s renaissance. Today PPAC, listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, is one of our greatest local landmarks.


  • admired the intricacies and grandeur of the historic interiors,
  • explored the projection booth for truly unique views of the theatre below
  • stepped onstage and behind the curtains to see the mechanics of PPAC’s acclaimed productions
  • visited the backstage area featuring wall art created by the many productions that came through PPAC over the last few decades
  • experienced the powerful and reverberating sounds of the theatre’s 1927 mighty 5-manual Wurlitzer pipe organ, one of only three of its kind ever made and meet house organist Peter Krasinski

While we were slightly overwhelmed by the huge turnout (500 people were outside when the doors opened), the afternoon was full of special moments. Our favorites involved organist Peter Krasinski inviting kids to perform for the crowds on the Wurlitzer organ: future stars in the making!

Doors Open Pawtucket + Central Falls

Saturday September 28, 2019

Doors Open RI took on Pawtucket + Central Falls and it was a blast! We shared 10 remarkable places across these neighboring cities with over 1,000 people, for free. Attendees climbed into Cogswell Tower and found the mysterious grotto upon which it stands; they stepped into the Bridge Mill Power Station and discovered the stained glass dome of the shuttered Old Industrial Trust Bank Building and more. Together we shared stories and fresh perspectives on what makes these two cities so special.

Thanks to our site partners for opening doors, to our volunteers for welcoming visitors inside, and to all of you who came. It was so much fun!

For more information and updates on our 2019 Festival, organized with the help of a superstar team from Leadership Rhode Island, see our 2019 Festival page.




This event is presented by the Roger Williams Park Conservancy, in partnership with the City of Providence Parks Department and Doors Open Rhode Island.  The restoration of Betsey Williams Cottage was funded by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission and the Rhode Island Foundation’s Campaign for Roger Williams Park.


Free and open to the public. Due to overwhelming response, we have closed registration for today’s event, but have added an additional Open House on Wednesday, August 15th from 5:30-7:30pmPlease click here to learn more and RSVP.

Betsey Williams Cottage Opening Celebration

Thursday, August 9th 5:30-7:30pm
Roger Williams Park – Elmwood Ave. Entrance

Betsey Williams Cottage is located near the Park’s Elmwood Avenue entrance.

In the 1773 cottage that today sits beneath a massive sycamore tree, Betsey Williams, the great-great-great granddaughter of Roger Williams, was born and raised with her sister Rhoda. The surrounding fields and marshes were their playground, and as adults their livelihood.  It was in the cottage that the sisters wove cloth to supplement their income and also invited neighbors to dine and dance with them. Upon her death in 1871, Betsey bequeathed the cottage and 102 acres of surrounding farmland to the city of Providence, which became the foundation of Roger Williams Park.

Join an opening reception for the beautifully restored Betsey Williams Cottage, which hasn’t been open to the public for nearly three decades:

  • Explore the cottage and learn about its preservation, history, and significance to Roger Williams Park
  • Share your ideas for the Park, and for future uses of the cottage
  • Hear lively tunes by the Vox Hunters, whose repertoire includes historic Rhode Island music including a number of pieces about Roger Williams himself!

Joelle Kanter ᛫ City Organizer

To lead a walk or get involved in other ways, contact Joelle Kanter at joellekanter@gmail.com

Jane’s Walk Providence

An annual festival of free, citizen-led walking conversations

Fri, May 4, 2018, 9:00 AM – Sun, May 6, 2018, 6:00 PM

Inspired by urban activist Jane Jacobs, Jane’s Walk encourages people to get out and explore their neighborhoods. Unlike typical guided tours, these free walks are led by volunteer citizen guides who share knowledge of their own communities while inspiring participants to think, talk, and connect. Providence is one of more than 200 participating cities with Jane’s Walks around the world, and that number grows every year.

All Walks are FREE!  |  No Tickets Needed   |   Rain or Shine   |   Wear Comfortable Shoes   

Travel through Time at Barker’s Playhouse

Thursday, December 14, 6:45-8:30pm
Barker Playhouse: 400 Benefit St. Providence

We’re pleased to welcome key supporters of Doors Open RI for a special holiday party. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our volunteers and partners, our fall festival was a great success. As a token of our thanks and celebration of our shared success, we’re throwing a special party!

The Players have graciously welcomed us into Barkers Playhouse, for an evening of exploration and holiday cheer. Our program will begin with a behind-the-scenes tour of this historic theater on Benefit St, followed by a special stereopticon show led by our friend and historian Ned Connors. Strap on a pair of 3D glasses, and Ned will guide you back in time to the late 19th-century, where you’ll witness life-sized scenes of a dynamic, prosperous Victorian Providence projected onto the silver screen.

Extra special thanks to The Players for generously hosting us and to the Rhode Island Historical Society for sharing their stereo slide collection and other materials that are making this program possible.

Doors Open RI 2017 Festival in Numbers

24 participating sites
20,000 individual site visits
4,000 attendees
92% of attendees rated the Festival very good or excellent
94% of attendees learned something new through the Festival, whether that was about a place or piece of history!
89% of attendees reported that the Festival made them feel more connected to the city of Providence
81% of attendees were local to RI, and of those 22% made the trek from elsewhere in RI. 19% of attendees came from outside of RI.

Doors Open Rhode Island Festival 


Saturday September 23, 2017

We handed the keys of the city over to the people! We opened the doors to 24 unique locations across Providence, providing free, behind-the-scenes access without tickets or reservations. 4,000 people from Providence and beyond came in with fresh perspectives on what makes our city so special. Attendees climbed into attics, peered into vaults, examined specimens and even traveled through time. You connected with people, heard stories and shared your own.

Thanks to our site partners for opening doors, to our volunteers for welcoming visitors inside, and to all of you who came. It was so much fun! We look forward to doing it again in the fall of 2019.

“Wow…….what an incredible event!  After 37 years as a RI resident, I was thrilled to see so many things for the first time during Doors Open RI.” 

— Karen Borger, festival attendee

Download our Event Guide

20,000 copies designed, printed and distributed by Providence Monthly

Read all about it!

700+ Photos Shared #DoorsOpenRI

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!

Missed the program? Tap into coverage by RIPR and Providence Journal:

Photo by Christian Scully / Design Imaging Studios

Steeple Tour of First Unitarian Church

Friday, May 26 12-1pm

Doors Open Rhode Island took a lucky group of people on a rarely experienced tour through the secret spaces of the First Unitarian Church of Providence (1816). We admired the expansive sanctuary, peeked inside the structural framework that holds up the interior dome, and climbed to the top of the church’s iconic tower for the best views of Providence. Once at the top, visitors rang 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?

This tour sold out quickly. Sign up for our mailing list to be the first to know about the next one!

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Organized in Partnership with

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.

Read the Fogarty Building Obituary Here.

All photography courtesy of Christian Scully / Design Imaging Studios

Watch a short clip of the funeral procession as shot by our friend Mike Cohea.

Read, Watch and Listen to Coverage on the Fogarty Funeral

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,” Trinity took a group of us on a behind-the-scenes lunchtime tour of the theater. We were lucky enough to 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 also meet some of the people who make Trinity Rep’s awesome shows possible.

Monday, March 6 12-12:45pm
COST: $10

Presented By


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.

Doors Open RI partnered with Barnaby Castle on an Open House event that welcomed 300+ visitors into the home. Half of our ticket sales, $2,330, were donated to Barnaby’s Castle to help in their efforts to restore this magnificent home. Visitors admired the interior detailing, Tiffany windows and intricate woodwork of the lower floors. They also learned the story of the building and were introduced to the cast of characters who made this home the talk of 19th century Providence: including 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. As we worked together to solve the mystery of who was behind Mrs. Barnaby’s death we enjoyed tastings of (unpoisoned) whisky thanks to our partners Bottles Fine Wine. It was a delightful way to spend an afternoon!

Providence City Hall: Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Thursday Nov. 17th 5:30pm

One of our favorite places to explore is City Hall, so we couldn’t help but launch our tour series with a visit. A lucky group of Providence residents joined us on a tour of the building led by our friends in the city’s archives, Britni Gorman and Caleb Horton. We saw some of the greatest Providence treasures in the archives like our 1637 compact, 1648 charter and even Patriarcha’s mug shot. Next, we checked out what a City Council is like in session, talked with the Council President, and visited the alderman chambers before traveling 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