News around the watercooler at work

Everyone at work is talking about it….the South County Museum is open Friday & Saturdays 10-4 with free admission to the open-air exhibits! #rhodeislandred #rhodeislandhistory #southcountymuseum #southcounty #playtouristfortheday #breakfromcovid



Remote Army of Volunteers

In recent years, a small army of skilled volunteers has been working on a variety of jobs at the museum, including building exhibits and presenting events.

With our doors currently closed, that army has been dispersed but it is still very active. The volunteers have been working at home to keep the museum in operation. For instance:

  • Susan Valenstein, Board member, and Collections Committee Chair, and Charles McCarthy have been working on a major exhibit to explore the history of commercial fishing in Point Judith. Susan Valenstein is also working actively on grant writing.
  • Printers Ed Shunney and Dave Maseglia continue to maintain the extensive Print Shop collection.
  • The Canonchet Gazette newsletter designer and photographer Jim Transue continues to publish the quarterly publication. Linda Pouliot is spearheading the newsletter and membership mailings.
  • Well-known photojournalist and documentary-maker Mark Starr published the museum’s first video on the blacksmithing trade. Now school students learning at home and unable to visit in person for their scheduled field trips due to COVID can still “join us” online.
  • Raymond Merz completed maintenance and painting projects at the Visitor’s Center.
  • Laurie Holland Morris, Janet Malenfant, and Chris Westcott continue to offer countless hours each month maintaining active community groups through Facebook. Consider joining one of the museum’s private groups for more information on Narragansett/South Kingstown memories and Point Judith commercial fishing.
  • Our education advisor Sharon Webster, a retired Narragansett K-12 school teacher, is with RILINK, providing books for Rhode island’s public schools.

The campus is not entirely empty. Executive Director (and resident blacksmith) Jim Crothers and Assistant Director Heather Kisilywicz are putting in more or less regular office hours, and irreplaceable resident caretaker Jeff Swanson cares for the Living Farm animals and keeps the museum grounds always looking good.

35th Annual Folk Art Quilt Show


Click to Fill Out Quilt Application                                                                                         Click to Buy Raffle Tickets


Quilt Show Admission

Free for Members


$10/Child 6-12

Buy now




For a printable application form, click here.

Travel a stitch back in time at our 35th Annual Folk Art Quilt Show! Just in time for Fall, we’re getting cozy with our annual quilt show– one of our best attended events and largest quilt shows in Rhode Island. Each year, the Metz Exhibit Hall transforms into a gallery of handmade local quilts. In the past, up to 75 quilts have been displayed!
This year, the quilt show will be held September 24th-26th from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Come discover the history, artistry, and talent of local artisans and sneak a peek into the museum’s textile collection. See traditional patterns side by side with the newest trends in modern expression. Explore South County’s textile production history.
This year’s annual quilt raffle prize is a handmade quilt entitled “Hope” from Mary Loftes and Evie Cherms, and machine quilted by April Gilroy. Even those who are not able to attend can participate in the quilt raffle!



Chick Cuddling Canceled due to COVID

Unfortunately, we counted our chickens before they hatched. 500 Rhode Island Red eggs were recently set in the museum’s incubators in hopeful anticipation of our most popular event of the year, the 4th of July chick hatch. Sadly, the museum remains closed to the public and the chick hatch has been canceled.

Between 400 – 600 visitors join us each year to welcome the newborn Rhode Island Reds. The continued cancelations of important events while daily operating expenses continue, like feeding the chickens, sheep, and goats, seriously jeopardize our non-profit organization.

If you are a faithful flock follower, consider making a donation online using the “Support” section or by phone. Donations of $20.00 or more will receive a free stuffed animal baby chick to cuddle at home! With your support, we are confident that the museum can weather this storm because birds of a feather flock together. Thank you!

Block Island Wind Farms benefit from a team effort

South County is setting the pace as first in the nation with the offshore wind farms, but also in the clear value, they place in the commercial fishing community. Grover Fugate, Executive Director of Rhode Island Coastal Management council, making sure those most familiar with the fisheries have a voice in future projects in a recent webinar designed to share best practices with other areas that may follow in their footsteps with similar initiatives.

Fugate explained how Rhode Island made the Fisheries Advisory Board “part of the regulatory scheme, so Rhode Island fishermen have a much stronger say than fishermen might in other states where a similar board might simply have an advisory role.” (Rhode Island Sea Grant 2020)

Summer 2020 Internship Opportunity

SCM Summer Internships

McBurney shares South County’s WWII stories

Please join the folks at the South County Museum for a free Zoom lecture by local historian and author Christian McBurney on Sunday, May 31, 2020, at 7:00 PM.

The talk will last 45 minutes, after which Christian will be glad to take questions.

Zoom link: 

RSVP today to reserve your spot.

He will speak on South County related stories from his newly-released book, Untold Stories from World War II Rhode Island (History Press, 2019):

  • Did you know President George H.W. Bush trained in Charlestown to be a pilot?
  • What was it like to watch army patrols on Quonochontaug Beach?
  • Was there really an attack by a German submarine right here in Point Judith? (YES!!)

Christian McBurney, an attorney in Washington, D.C., has authored or co-authored seven Rhode Island history books and is the founder and publisher of the leading Rhode Island history blog, He currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area, after being raised in Kingston, R.I., attending South Kingstown High School, and obtaining his undergraduate degree from Brown University.

An important message from the Executive Director

A Letter from the Executive Director & Board of Directors Chair

What would you want future generations to know about your experience living in this moment with COVID-19?

The South County Museum’s staff, board, and volunteers remain dedicated to researching, preserving, and celebrating Southern Rhode Island’s historic moments, including this one. We are also committed to maintaining a healthy and safe environment in order to halt the spread of COVID-19.

We are reducing transmission by working remotely and the museum’s campus will remain closed to visitors and volunteers until the right time presents itself to welcome you back; however, the museum is always here for you. If you have a matter that needs our attention, please do not hesitate to reach out via phone or email. Stay safe and stay in touch.

In the coming weeks, we will be offering new programming as the museum evolves to virtually collect, document, and exhibit history. Spend some time on our websiteFacebook page, and Instagram profile to take part in our community, share your stories, and experience how the past is relevant today.


Your stories are our history.



Jim Crothers, Executive Director
Daryl Anderson, Board President

Rhode Island’s COVID-19 archive

A Rhode Island COVID-19 digital collection was established to document and preserve the lived experience of the state’s residents by Kate Wells, Curator of the Rhode Island Collection at the John Nicolas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, and Becca Bender, Film Archivist and Curator of Recorded Media at the Rhode Island Historical Society.

Browse the growing collection and go back often as countless daily submissions are posted and shared. Check out the interactive map to see contributions through-out the state. Contribute your experience easily today for free.

Not sure what to submit? Check out the “Guide to Personal Archiving” to help spark some inspiration or consider this: If you had the chance, what would you want your great or 2x great grandparents to tell you about the 1918 Spanish Flu?”

The South County Museum and South County Historical Center are collaborating to encourage Southern Rhode Islander’s submit their videos, photos, and stories. Be sure your experience is represented in this innovative crowdsourced digital humanities project. Who knows, you might just see your contribution on this website or at the museum!

Your stories are our shared history at the South County Museum where we capture, preserve, and celebrate them.