Salt Pond Archaeological Site, November 15, 7pm

The 50-acre Salt Pond Archaeological Site (RI 110), at the head of Point Judith (Salt) Pond, is one of the most important Native American excavations on the Eastern Seaboard. Work at the site, once home to a large Narragansett Indian settlement, is revealing important information about what life was like in Rhode Island just before Europeans arrived.

The Salt Pond archaeological excavations are also providing information about the first Thanksgiving, which took place in Plymouth, Mass. 397 years ago this fall. What foods were harvested? How were the Wampanoags dressed? How did they cook the food they brought?

Jay Waller, Senior Archaeologist at The Public Archaeology Laboratory, has done extensive work at the Salt Pond site. On Thursday, November 15, he will be at the Museum to talk about what we can learn about the first Thanksgiving from the discoveries at Salt Pond.

Roger Williams talk, November 1, 7pm

In an age when clergymen enforced civil laws and magistrates enforced religious laws, Roger Williams believed that the state had no right to interfere with a person’s relationship with God. He could not find a community that guaranteed freedom of religion, so he founded his own community—Providence—and in doing so, embarked on a monumental experiment.

Could Williams and a small group of like-minded people create a new kind of government that recognized liberty of conscience? Could city-bred people learn to plant and harvest crops, chop wood, and handle a canoe?

You’ll be able to find out the answers to those questions and more when Roger Williams himself (as interpreted by National Park Service Ranger John McNiff) visits the Peace Dale Museum of Art and Culture on Thursday, November 1.

Narragansett Pacers, October 25, 7pm

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Narragansett Planters of South County developed the first uniquely American breed of horse, the Narragansett Pacer.

Narragansett Pacers were known throughout the English-speaking world as a superlative riding horse. One writer described them as “the finest saddle horses in the world: they neither fatigue themselves nor their rider.”

But by the 19th century, the Narragansett Pacers were gone. What made them the best riding horses in the world? Why did they disappear?

Dr. Charlotte Carrington-Farmer, Assistant Professor of Early American History at Roger Williams University and a recognized authority on the Narragansett Pacer, will answer those questions on Thursday, October 25 during her program at the Peace Dale Museum of Art and Culture.