Commemorating the 170th anniversary of the state’s first Constitution effective on May 2, 1843, this exhibit features an array of original documents leading up to and relating to its ratification, including journals from the first Constitutional Convention in 1824, petitions to expand the right to vote and a copy of the 1841 “Peoples Constitution” as ratified by supporters of Thomas Dorr. Other featured items include records of the state’s last Constitutional Convention in 1986. Video footage taken during the plenary sessions will run continuously as part of the exhibit.
This exhibit provides an historic view of celebratory festivities that have taken place in Rhode Island throughout the years. The items on display include photographs, artifacts, original manuscripts, and archival video footage associated with such events as: the Rhode Island Tercentennial of 1936, the U.S. Bicentennial and arrival of the Tall Ships at Newport in 1976 and the transfer of Revolutionary and Civil War battle flags to the State House in 1903, as well as the opening of state highways and bridges, including those over the Providence and Pawtucket Rivers in 1958 and the Mount Hope and Washington Bridge dedications of 1929 and 1930.