The 10 Best Museums Rhode Island!

Rhode Island may be a small state, but you are sure to find a plethora of excellent museums here, boasting niche and impressive collections. For fans of just about anything, you'll find a museum that matches your interests, whether it’s sailing, tennis, cooking, or all of the above!

1. The Breakers, Newport, RI

A National Historic monument, the Breakers is the ancient mansion of the Vanderbilt family and can be found in Newport, Rhode Island. The manor is kept beautifully, and an audio guide around the property unlocks the history of the house and its ancient day to day operations.

2. Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, RI

As the museum accompanying one of the greatest art schools in the world, it’s no wonder that the Rhode Island School of Design’s (RISD) galleries are a gem within Providence. The museum houses an impressive yet small collection, with digestible information placarded on the walls. The museum is walkable, creative, and is always in search of new expositions to display, expanding the full range of art from antiquity to present day. Admission is free to all on Sundays.

3. The Elms, Newport, RI

The Elms was the summer cottage of coal entrepreneur Edward Julius Berwind, but “cottage” doesn’t do this museum justice. The estate’s construction cost approximately $1.5 million, as it was modeled after chateaus in France. Now visitors can experience the house’s jaw-dropping views for themselves, as they take a pleasant stroll through the esteemed hallways while listening to an informative audio guide. 

4. International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport, RI

Another one of Newport’s treasures, the International Tennis Hall of Fame was the very first location of the U.S. Open. Enthusiastic guides will open your eyes to the history of the museum. You can even gear up and play on the perfectly-maintained courts yourself. Tennis lovers won’t want to miss this spot.

5. Herreshoff Marine Museum, Bristol, RI

Passionate sailors will love reading about the history of classic boating and will stare in awe at the pristine detail of boats showcased by the Herreshoff. Located close to the ocean, you will feel immersed within Bristol’s marine culture as you wander through the halls of the museum. Visitors also love their gift shop for nautical-themed souvenirs.

6. National Museum of American Illustration, Newport, RI

Curators Laurence and Judy Cutler converted Vernon Court, a beautiful old mansion, into an expansive gallery with several unique pieces. The galleries contain the second largest collection of Norman Rockwell’s work, as well as the largest collection of pieces by Mayfield Parrish. As you observe illustration after illustration, you will come to understand the profound impact of illustrators on American culture.

7. Slater Mill Museum, Pawtucket, RI

The Slate Mill Museum functions as a museum recounting the history of the Industrial Revolution by day but moonlights as a magical venue for weddings and events. Even Rhode Islanders who have lived here for years may pass by the museum without remarking its historical importance, but it’s a place that came to shape the history of Rhode Island during a pivotal point in the industrial revolution.

8. Audrain Automobile Museum, Newport, RI

With restored cars and meticulous classics, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to another era in the Audrain Automobile Museum. If you love American classics, you won’t regret spending the $10 entry fee to observe the precise details maintained on cars like a classic Mercedes from the 50s and the 40s Delahaye from France. While the curators don’t usually house many cars in the museum at once, you’ll appreciate the fine finishing on each one to the last detail.

9. Culinary Arts Museum, Providence, RI

Providence isn’t just the creative capital in terms of visual arts, they’ve got a history of culinary arts as well! Unique among Rhode Island’s other museums, you’ll be wondering why other cities don’t have their own culinary museums. The Culinary Arts Museum often displays temporary exhibitions drawn from the work of students at Johnson and Wales nearby, in addition to their equally delectable permanent exhibitions.

10. Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI

Located in a charming Tudor-style home, the architecture of this museum is as excellent as the artwork it houses! The museum grounds will stun you, although the collection is considerably small. Rhode Island natives may appreciate seeing local artists on display in the museum’s rotating galleries.

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76 Bellevue Ave, Newport, RI
About the Museum: The Newport Art Museum collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets historic and contemporary visual arts of the highest quality ... Read More
449 Thames Street, Newport, RI
Mission: The Museum of Yachting is dedicated to preserving the culture and heritage of yachting by fostering education and enjoyment of its tradit... Read More
1 Colt Drive, Bristol, RI
About Us: Coggeshall Farm Museum is a living history farm set on 48 acres in Bristol, Rhode Island.  The museum depicts Bristol's agrarian li... Read More
P.O. Box 83, Jamestown, RI
1657 Conanicut Island was purchased from the Narragansett Indians by a group of settlers from Newport. 1712 The first official request for a perm... Read More
3259 Post Road, Warwick, RI
As Warwick's largest non-profit arts organization and the area's cultural center since 1976, the Warwick Museum of Art continues to provide a perfo... Read More
15 Concord Avenue, Cranston, RI
About Us: The Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum was founded in 1996 in Duxbury, Massachusetts. The Museum is a non-profit organization with federal 501 ... Read More
488 Eccleston Avenue, North Kingstown, RI
Our Mission: The mission of the Rhode Island Quonset Air Museum (QAM) is to preserve, interpret and present Rhode Island's aviation history throug... Read More
115 Strathmore Street, Narragansett, RI
MissionSouth County Museum illustrates our past, which gives meaning to our present and illuminates our path to the future.VisionSouth County Museu... Read More
1058 Kingstown Road, Suite 5, Peace Dale, RI
Museum History Founded in 1892, South County's oldest museum houses more than 15,000 archaeological and ethnological objects from around the worl... Read More
390 A Summit Road, Exeter, RI
Tomaquag Museum’s Mission Statement: The Mission of Tomaquag Museum is to educate the public and promote thoughtful dialogue regarding Indig... Read More
21 Iafrate Way, North Kingstown, RI
Vision Statement: Design and construct a Museum and Park as the premier educational venue for the Seabee “Can Do” philosophy in action.... Read More
1058 Kingstown Road Suite 5, Peace Dale, RI
Founded in 1892, South County's oldest museum houses more than 15,000 archaeological and ethnological objects from around the world. Changing exhib... Read More
449 Thames Street, Newport, RI
The Museum of Yachting is dedicated to preserving the culture and heritage of yachting by fostering education and enjoyment of its traditions and h... Read More
224 Benefit Street, Providence, RI
Our Mission and HistoryThe RISD Museum acquires, preserves, exhibits, and interprets works of art and design representing diverse cultures from anc... Read More
315 Harborside Boulevard, Providence, RI
Statement of Purpose The Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson & Wales University is a teaching museum that preserves and interprets culinary and ho... Read More
222 Richmond Street Suite 206, Providence, RI
Mission:Provide all of Rhode Island’s diverse communities a cultural and educational center where all may come together to celebrate our indi... Read More
311 Berkeley Avenue, Middletown, RI
History: The rental of Whitehall, began a long history of various uses: teahouse, inn, coffee house. By the time of the American Revolution, it wa... Read More
1003 Waterman Avenue, East Providence, RI
A Grand Opening was held on Saturday, October 8, 2005 to invite the Cape Verdean community and others to come and view the location space and to ce... Read More
P.O.Box 6022, Providence, RI
Mission Statement: Since 1996, the American Diner Museum (ADM) has been focused on celebrating and preserving the cultural and historical signific... Read More
500 Hope Street, Bristol, RI
Linden Place is the "crown jewel" of Bristol, Rhode Island's historic waterfront district. We invite you to come and explore this magnificent estat... Read More
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