2011-11-03 / News

Jamestown Historical Society News


The final two programs of the “Jamestown and the Silver Screen” series are coming this month. Both will take place in the meeting room at the Jamestown Philomenian Library.

Clips and Quips

On this Friday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m., “Clips and Quips” will show short clips from Jamestown-related movies followed by comments by Jamestowners who were there when the movie was made.

Eight movies will be featured. The earliest is “Crash Dive,” made in1943. Babs Porter, who as a young teenager hung out with the stars of the movie, will talk about her experiences. The most recent – without accompanying clip – is “Moonrise Kingdom,” to be released in 2012, and Ras Lischio will discuss what it was like to have a movie made in his house.

Other speakers include Guy Archambault (“13 Days”), Melissa Hicks (“Evening”), Sue Maden (“A Ticklish Affair”), Bill Munger (“Dan in Real Life” and “Me, Myself & Irene”), and Ken Newman (“Me, Myself & Irene”).

Chris Walsh, who worked on the location crew for several of the recent films, will also be there to share his experiences. Bill Sprague will show clips from “The Last Connection,” a made-for-television documentary that he directed about the tall ships on Narragansett Bay in 1976 and talk about the making of the film.

Crash Dive

If the snippets you see and the stories you hear about the making of “Crash Dive” raise your curiosity, you‘ll be able see the whole movie next week on Friday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. Tyrone Power and Dana Andrews star in this World War II film about the submarine service, some of which was filmed in the waters around Jamestown. The Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion are joining the JHS in sponsoring the showing of the movie in honor of Veterans Day.

Refreshments will be served at both events.

Dinner at the movies

Those of you who missed the Quononoquott Garden Club’s “Dinner at the Movies” event can see the place settings designed by the club’s members at the JHS website: james townhistoricalsociety.org. They’re marvelous evocations of the selected movies. Library exhibit The final 2011 exhibit in the JHS display case in the library is being mounted next week. The exhibit showcases gifts the society has received throughout the year. Not all of the donations can be shown because of their number and the size of some of the objects, but all will be acknowledged in a list on top of the case.

The society hopes that the artifacts on display will trigger memories of your own history in Jamestown and encourage you to donate other objects, pictures and manuscripts that will tell more of the story of Jamestown.

Books in the collection

Almost 200 books and pamphlets are included in the JHS collection. Before the back room of the museum was rededicated this spring as the Ferry Room, many of the books were housed there and docents could make them available to museum visitors. Using the room for this purpose was highly appropriate.

The front part of the museum building had originally been a oneroom schoolhouse. In 1896, it became the town library. Twenty-five years later, in 1922, the back room was added as a library workroom. When the building was renovated as a museum, the shelving in the back room was retained, partially to commemorate the multiple uses of the building.

Over half the shelves in the old library workroom are now filled with ferry artifacts and memorabilia, and plans are underway to expand that exhibit.

As the room transitioned from workroom/library to exhibit area, the books became less accessible. The society is working on a plan to increase access to these books by the time the museum opens again next summer.

Rare books and books with particular significance to the society – such as autographed copies – are kept in the vault, as are the archives. The vault in the basement of Town Hall is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon. Visitors may also request access at other times by calling 423-7202 during those hours or by emailing info@jamestownhistoricalsociety.org. Many of the books in the collection are also available in the local history section of the Jamestown Philomenian Library. Information about their availability is being added to the JHS online catalog.


The JHS is an all-volunteer organization, and we always need new volunteers. During the summer, they are needed to sit at both the museum and the windmill whenever these buildings are open. Throughout the year, volunteers are needed to keep the battery and trails clear of brush, to tend the garden at the museum, to help catalog and inventory the collection, to design and mount exhibits, to plan programs, and many other things. It’s never the wrong time to volunteer. Send an email with your name, phone number and area of interest to volunteers@james townhistoricalsociety.org, or contact volunteer coordinator Tricia Frary at 423-1395 or tfrary@cox.net.

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