2008-04-03 / Island History

Jamestown Historical Society News

By Rosemary Enright

Capital Campaign Finale This spring brings with it the finale of the 2007-2008 Jamestown Historical Society Capital Campaign. On Sunday, May 11, the Capital Campaign Committee chairs, Anne Livingston and John A. Murphy, will host an open house at our new and renovated facilities. Refreshments will be served at the museum, and guides will show you through the basement of the Town Hall to the historical society vault.

Festivities start at 5 p.m. Flags will be raised on the new flagpole in front of the museum about 6 p.m. "Message to the Future" cards will be available for anyone who wants to contribute to our efforts and add a message to the time capsule that will be placed under the floor of the museum.

Join the celebration! And thank you all for your support over this past year.

Our goal for the Capital Campaign has been to raise $500,000 to renovate the museum, build a vault for our archives in the new Town Hall, increase our contribution to the Jamestown history programming at the schools, and fund an endowment to assure an income stream to maintain these improvements.

At this time, we have in-hand gifts and pledges for over $480,000. The renovations to the museum are almost complete; the vault is already in use. We are creating a youth-friendly display of the 1657 Land Agreement document in the Town Hall as a step toward stimulating interest in Jamestown history in young people and adults. Betty Hubbard is designing the landscaping around the museum, and on Arbor Day, April 25, the Tree Preservation and Protection Committee will plant two trees on the town property near the museum that will complement her plans.

In the meantime, we are making a final push to reach our full $500,000 goal. If you can help, please send your contribution to the Jamestown Historical Society, P.O. Box 156, Jamestown, RI 02835, or call me at 423-2674 to talk about a pledge or gift.

Kennedy assassination talk

The JHS and the Friends of the Jamestown Library are co-sponsoring a presentation by David Kaiser, professor of history at the Naval War College and long-time Jamestown resident, on Thursday, April 17, at 7 p.m. Professor Kaiser will discuss his newly released book, "The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy," published last month by Harvard University Press.

Reviews of Dr. Kaiser's book have been uniformly positive. "Kaiser's nuanced conclusions on Oswald's guilt and the ominous issue of conspiracy will command respect from even those who disagree with them," wrote G. Robert Blakey, former Chief Counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. "His attention to detail and use of recently released FBI and CIA files put this analysis ahead of many of its fellows," Pub- lishers Weekly said.

Join us. The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information, call the library at 423- 7820.

Spring exhibit at

Island 10 Cinema

Island 10 Cinema off West Main Road in Middletown has offered the society the opportunity to acquaint a wider audience with the history of Jamestown. This May and June the display case in the lobby at the theater will feature the ferryboats that ran between Jamestown and Newport. The planned exhibit contains models of many of the ferries, including new models of the Governor Carr and Beavertail lent to the society by model-maker Roland Parent. The Governor Carr, built in 1927, was the last ferry built specifically for the Jamestown-Newport run, and the display will include photographs of her construction.

The ferries were discontinued in 1969 when the Newport Bridge (now the Claiborne Pell Bridge) opened, giving travelers a more convenient - if less relaxing - way to cross Narragansett Bay.

Summer exhibit at the

Jamestown Museum

This summer's exhibit at the Jamestown Museum will celebrate education and schools on Jamestown. Harry Wright is the curator, bringing together records and artifacts about how young people were taught from the early days of the town. The first public oneroom schoolhouse was built in Jamestown in 1804, although town records from as early as 1731 contain evidence of public support for teachers maintaining private schools. Eighteenth century samplers in our collection show how training in sewing skills did double duty in teaching the alphabet.

High school has always been off-island and for many years Jamestown students rode the ferry to Newport to attend Rogers High School - so ferries will be part of this exhibit, too.

For many of you, the exhibit will be a nostalgic visit to your own past. If you have something from your school days that you would like to share, please let us know, so we can plan to include it in the exhibit. Call Harry at 423-2978 or email jhs@jametownri.com with your suggestions.

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