A free exhibit at the State Archives in downtown Providence focuses on how Rhode Islanders have celebrated historic occasions through the years.
“Parades, Dedications, and Commemorations” features photographs, artifacts, original manuscripts and archival video footage associated with events such as the Rhode Island Tercentennial of 1936, the U.S. Bicentennial and arrival of the Tall Ships at Newport in 1976 and the transfer of Revolutionary War and Civil War battle flags to the State House in 1903.
“It is eye-opening to see how proud previous generations were to commemorate occasions that have faded from mind or we take for granted today,” Secretary of State Ralph Mollis said in a statement.
The state’s evolving bridge and highway system is documented, including the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the now infamous Thurbers Avenue curve on the newly constructed Interstate 95 in 1963 and the dedication of the Mount Hope Bridge in 1929.
Other featured items include photos of England’s Queen Elizabeth II visiting Newport as part of the state’s Bicentennial celebration in 1976 and images of the World War I Victory Parade through downtown Providence on May 11, 1919.
“Parades, Dedications, and Commemorations” is on display weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Jan. 31 at the State Archives, 337 Westminster St., in downtown Providence. Free validated parking is available at the nearby In-Town Parking lot.
In addition to presenting exhibits, the State Archives is also home to tens of thousands of historic documents such as the 1784 law that granted slaves in Rhode Island their freedom and Roger Williams’ handwritten copy of the original 1638 deed buying Providence from the Wampanoag tribe.