About Us

Welcome to the Pettaquamscutt Historical Society Museum & Library

Founded in 1958 on the 300th anniversary of the original land purchase by colonists from Narragansett sachems, The Pettaquamscutt Historical Society encourages the study and appreciation of the region’s history. The distinctive character of the area has been marked by its proximity to the sea, a temperate climate and highly fertile soil, the flourishing plantation economy of the 18th century, and its present popularity as a destination for summer visitors and others seeking a relaxed lifestyle.

PHS Collections

The PHS collections document the perception and understanding of the domestic, social, business and cultural life in the region of the Pettaquamscutt Purchase from the late 17th to the mid-20th centuries, with the strength of the collections residing in the materials that date from the mid-19th to mid-20th century.  The collections include furniture and other man-made artifacts and decorative arts, manuscripts, books, photographs, slides and negatives, maps, newsprint, models, prints and drawings, costumes, fabrics and other textiles, Native American artifacts, dolls, toys and games, tools, currency, industrial equipment, and institutional archives.  Topics represented in the collections include architecture, commerce and industry, domestic life, military history, agriculture and land use, politics and religion.

Research Library

The Society maintains a research library consisting of printed materials relating to Washington County and Rhode Island, local histories, maps, ephemera, family genealogies, and varied manuscript holdings. The Society maintains genealogical files on local families. The library is open free of charge to members and students, and can be used for a small daily fee by the public.

Museum & Library Hours


Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Tours begin on the half-hour, last tour at 3:30 p.m.
Group tours by appointment.


Recommended donation for admission:

$5.00 adults / $3.00 seniors and students / 12 and under free.


PHS members enjoy unlimited free admission to the museum.


Genealogy Library

$5 donation for independent research

Copies:  25 cents 8.5 x 11 and 8.5 x 14;  50 cents 11×17


Staff assisted research
PHS encourages independent use of our library for research.

If staff-assisted research is required, PHS will provide this
service at the following hourly rates:

PHS Members:  $20 per hour

Non-Members:   $35 for the 1st hour; $20 per hour therafter


Pettaquamscutt Historical Society

Located in the Old Washington County Jail

2636 Kingstown Road

(Rt 138 – Across from URI/Upper College Road)

Kingston, RI 02881

(401) 783-1328

PHS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in Rhode Island.