The Block Island Historical Society Museum, Gallery & Shop are all located at the 4-way intersection known as Bridgegate Square at 18 Old Town Road across from the bank and Bagel Shop.

The  three-story building with red mansard roof is the headquarters for the Society. The building is listed as part of the National Register in the Old Harbor Historic District. The museum building originally known as the Woonsocket House ca. 1871,

(originally a hotel & annex building with rooms that were rented to summer visitors up until the 1970′s) was purchased by the Society in 1945. It was the original homestead and farm of Gideon Rose and later rebuilt as a boarding house by the A.J. Rose family.

The museum houses an extensive collection of significant artifacts related to Block Island’s history from Manissean stone tools and points to early New England maritime and farming displays as well as colonial memorabilia and enlarged vintage photographs capturing life during the Victorian age. Two floors of exhibits include fine furniture, Victorian collectibles, textiles, quilts, boat models, tools, fishing gear, historic maps, a reproduction of a Manissean shell midden, oral history tapes and other interesting displays.


Genealogical research and off-site history tours are available by appointment year round. This summer, the museum’s lead exhibit: “Surrounded by Sea” will be located in four newly updated exhibit rooms.