November is National Native American Heritage Month and a wonderful place to learn about the history of the indigenous people of Rhode Island is the Tomaquag Museum at 390A Summit Rd.in Exeter. The museum was founded in 1958 by Mary E.Glasko, a Narragansett/Pokanoket-Wampanoag, better known as Princess Red Wing. Princess Red Wing enlisted the help of her good friend, anthropologist Eva Butler, and using their vast knowledge of indigenous culture, opened the original museum in Eva’s home in Tomaquag Valley in Ashaway. In 1969, Tomaquag Museum relocated to Exeter RI.
The museum is outgrowing it's home, so plans are in the works for a brand new museum space that will be located on 18 acres of land owned by the University of Rhode Island. The new museum will be able to house many more exhibits focusing on the Indigenous peoples of North America as well as the Narragansett & other Southern New England Tribes. Construction is scheduled to begin next year, with a goal of opening in 2023!
In the meantime, Tomaquag Museum has a special exhibit opening on November 10th! It's called Away from Home: Native American Boarding School Stories, and it will run November 10, 2021 - January 7, 2022. The exhibit is located on the URI campus, 95 Upper College Rd Kingston RI, will be open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday. Admission is free, donations are appreciated! Find out more about the Tomaquag Museum HERE! An click HERE for information on the special URI exhibit!
Listen below to Kristin's interview with Executive Director Loren Spears about this exciting and educational museum!