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The Rhode Island State Home and School Project

CURRENT INITIATIVES

The Oral History Project

"Let us build a home for such children"- Stories of the State Home and School
Audio CD

link: The Oral History Project Interviews from over thirty former residents, workers, and volunteers of the State Home and School have been collected. The CD features only the voices of some of these individuals. Interviews were conducted in the homes of the participants, many in the company of spouses and children. Some were collected over the phone. All were taken in environments where the story could be told in a comfortable setting.

This CD is made possible through grants received from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and the Rhode Island Foundation.

link: The CD Project

The CD was launched on October 24, 2005 along with the official groundbreaking for the first phase of renovation of the "Yellow Cottage".

Click here for more information on the project

The Oral History Collection

Our narrators share their life histories--their experiences before, during and after staying at the Rhode Island State Home/Patrick O'Rourke Children's Center as a way of reaching out to fellow former residents and to educate the public. Some of the memories are painful and sensitive, we urge visitors to this website to view the oral/visual interviews respectfully and thoughtfully.

Click here for the Oral History Collection
(Please note: Macromedia Flash player is required to view the collection)

Project Timeline

  • June 27, 2007
    Public presentation of State Home and School records.
  • June 8, 2007
    Seminar/workshop presentation: Application of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to Archaeology at the State Home and School and the East Campus of Rhode Island College
  • June 1 - July 2, 2007
    Original Records displayed at Adams Library
  • May 30, 2007
    All original volumes of the State Home and School~O'Rourke Children's Center returned to Rhode Island College. Records are now accessible and researchable. All data transferred to microfilm.
  • February 27, 2007
    Lecture presentation "The Landscape of Orphanages: Children's Homes in Rhode Island", Dr. Sandra Enos
  • October 5, 2006
    Project presentation AARP- East Providence Chapter
  • September 11, 2006
    29 Original volumes of the State Home and School~O'Rourke Children's Center transported to Northeast Document Conservation Center, Andover MA for preservation and restoration
  • August 31, 2006
    Public presentation of exterior renovation
  • August 31, 2006
    Dedication of original wrought iron gates
  • April 20, 2006
    Organization of American Historians & National Council of Public History, Washington, DC
    Campus History as Public History: Two Case Studies of How History Enhanced Campus Communities
  • March 31, 2006
    The Society for Applied Anthropology, Vancouver, BC
    Practicing Indigenous Archaeology at a State Orphanage: Transforming Monuments of the Past into Performances for the Living
  • January 18, 2006
    Rhode Island College Faculty Development Workshop
    The Collaboration between Faculty and Students
  • December 8, 2005
    Providence Preservation Society Annual Meeting
    Preservation Award: Educational/Publications/Community Involvement
  • November 3, 2005
    Voices of Dissent, Voices of Hope
    Oral History Association Annual Meeting
    Oral History Presentation
  • October 24, 2005
    Groundbreaking: restoration of yellow cottage/Oral History CD launch followed by reception for former residents.
  • May 4, 2005
    Art Installations/Graduate Film Studies Presentation
  • December 14, 2004
    Federal Appropriation Grant Announced ($325,000.00)
  • November 30, 2004
    State of Rhode Island Historic Preservation & Heritage Commission Grant Announced ($100,000.00)
  • October 24, 2004
    Save Our Heritage and Revisit Yesterday/Bond Issue #11 Preservation Referendum
  • October 4, 2004
    RI Council on the Humanities honors President Nazarian with "Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities"
  • August 3, 2004
    Presentation to Rotary International
  • April 24, 2004
    Presentation - 19th Annual Rhode Island Statewide Historic Preservation Conference
  • March 12, 2004
    State Home and School web site debuts
  • February 19, 2004
    Project and video presented to Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families staff and executives
  • February 14, 2004
    Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin hosts Rhode Island College Alumni Legacy Celebration and introduces the State Home and School Project to those in attendance
  • November 10, 2003
    Honoring the Past to Ensure the Future debuts on Rhode Island's Cox Channel 3
  • October 29, 2003
    Honoring the Past to Ensure the Future full feature debuts
  • July 28, 2003
    Former resident and staff gathering and second viewing of Honoring the Past to Ensure the Future
  • June 30, 2003
    Field School in Archeology - Investigations at the State Home and School
  • June 20, 2003
    RICH Grant Awarded
  • June 20, 2003
    Launch of Oral History Project
  • May 22, 2003
    Faculty Research Grant awarded
  • May 18, 2003
    Rhode Island Foster Parents Association Annual Dinner - Child Protective Services Award presented to President Nazarian for the State Home and School Project at Rhode Island College
  • May 10 - June 15, 2003
    Rhode Island Treasures exhibit- Rhode Island Convention Center
  • May 9, 2003
    Video debut of Honoring the Past to Ensure the Future at Sesquicentennial Inaugural
  • May 2, 2003
    Voices of the Past: Honors in Anthropology Project presented
  • May 2, 2003
    Oral History Project brochure developed
  • April 23, 2003
    RIC Anthropology Brown Bag Luncheon-Oral History honors project
  • April 21, 2003
    Northeastern Anthropological Association Annual Meeting - Papers presented
  • April 16, 2003
    RIC Anthropology Brown Bag Luncheon-Artifact analyses
  • April 6, 2003
    Children's Opportunities are Our Responsibilities: 2nd gathering of former residents. First gathering of former staff. Memorial dedication honoring all children of the Home
  • January 17, 2003
    The Treatment of Children in the Industrial Age: RI's Great Experiment, 1185-1979. Presentation at the 36th Annual Conference on Historical and Underwater Archeology
  • December 12, 2002
    Archeology of Children- Archeological Institute of America, Narragansett chapter
  • October 27, 2002
    Historical Preservation Open House- referendum #4
  • October 26, 2002
    "A Memorable Morning" first reunion of the former residents. Presentation: Rhode Island Archeological Society Annual Meeting
  • September 1, 2002
    A Road to the Past- First publication in Rhode Island College Alumni Magazine
  • October 4, 2002
    "Come Back to RIC" Homecoming 2002 - Walking Tour developed
  • July 22, 2002
    First Public presentation on project
  • July 19, 2002
    DCYF Archeology Day on State Home grounds
  • July 1, 2002
    Summer class offering/Field School in Archeology
  • May 4, 2002
    Steering Committee first convenes

Activities & Events

Wednesday June 27, 2007

Public presentation of State Home and School records.
James P. Adams Library, 4pm

Friday June 8, 2007

Seminar/workshop presentation:
Application of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to Archaeology at the State Home and School and the East Campus of Rhode Island College
Gaige Hall, Room 163, 8:30am

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lecture presentation "The Landscape of Orphanages:
Children's Homes in Rhode Island", Dr. Sandra Enos
Warwick Public Library, 7:00pm

Thusrday August 31, 2006

Dedication of original wrought iron gates.
Public presentation of exterior renovation.
State Home and School grounds, 4:00pm.

Monday October 24, 2005

Groundbreaking: restoration of yellow cottage/Oral History CD launch followed by reception for former residents.
State Home and School grounds, 3:30pm.

A new CD of interviews with former State Home residents and staff is on sale for $20 to help restore the yellow cottage, once living quarters for orphans, into a child welfare resource center.
read more...

Wednesday May 4, 2005

Art Installations/Graduate Film Studies Presentation. Reception and Celebration followed by presentation.
State Home and School grounds, 7:00pm.
Art Presentation, 8:00pm.
Rain Date: Wednesday May 11, 7:00pm

Tuesday December 14, 2004

Rhode Island's Congressional Delegation awards $325,000 to support the renovation of the "Yellow Cottage"
Rhode Island College
Palumbo-Driscoll Board Room
Joseph F. Kauffman Center
2:30p.m

The College has just been informed that it has received a $100,000 grant from the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission and a $325,000 Appropriation secured by Rhode Island's Congressional Delegation to support the renovation of the "Yellow Cottage".

Sunday October 24, 2004

State Home and School Heritage Celebration
Rhode Island College
School of Social Work
11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

In conjunction with the RI Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission. Tours of grounds of the State Home and School will be offered as part of "Open House" of historic sites throughout the state to support referendum question #11 to preserve historic sites.
Former residents and staff are invited to arrive at 10 a.m. for a special gathering.

Saturday April 24, 2004

The 19th Annual Rhode Island Statewide
Historic Preservation Conference

A Toy Car, a Fireplace, a Death's Head, and a 12 -over-12: University Fieldwork Projects - Maitrayee Bhattacharyva, Grants Director, RI Council for the Humanities; Pierre Morenon, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Rhode Island College (Session A, 11:15 a.m.)
Conference registration, 8:15 a.m., St. Andrews School, Bristol, RI

 

Friday March 12, 2004

Frankie Dolan, Ragtime Orphan Premieres

Henry Barnard School fifth graders presented Frankie Dolan, Ragtime Orphan, about life in the State Home and School for Children in 1912. The play was written and directed by Sharon Fennessey, associate professor at HBS and professor of creative drama and theatre for children and youth at the Rhode Island College.

Frankie Dolan, Ragtime Orphan Premieres continued

To learn more about the project contact Patricia Nolin, Special Assistant to the President, call (401) 456-9854, or email pnolin@ric.edu.

To contribute to the oral history project contact Diane Martell at dmartell@ric.edu (email) or 401-456-8628 (phone).