Providence Children’s Museum – Making Our Rich History of Immigration a Hands On Experience

Providence Children’s Museum’s mission is to inspire and celebrate learning through active play and exploration. In 2016, the Museum used a Champlin Foundation grant toward a major renovation of the Museum’s primary humanities exhibit, Coming to Rhode Island. The exhibit’s new interactive story center, time tunnel and 1830s Irish story gallery complement the exhibit’s existing hands-on galleries: a 1960s Latino bodega, an 1890s Cape Verdean entrepreneur’s packet ship, and an English colonist’s farm in Portsmouth, RI; and engage children and caregivers in over 300 years of immigration to our state.

Through pretend play, new activities, books, conversations and discoveries with caregivers and other kids, Coming to Rhode Island helps children develop tolerance and respect for the diversity of individuals that make up RI and the US; builds empathy for others by making personal connections to their stories; and fosters children’s understanding that diversity makes our communities stronger. Coming to Rhode Island helps develop skills that children and their caregivers need to live in the world today.

The reinvented exhibit will benefit more than 1.6 million visitors over the next 10 years—annually over 168,000 ethnically/racially diverse visitors from all socio-economic levels. In 2016, 66 percent of the Museum’s visitors were from RI, 23 percent from MA, and 11 percent from CT and other states; 21 percent were low-income; and 30 percent were welcomed free of charge—as part of the Museum’s commitment to being accessible to all.