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Woonsocket - Museum of Work and Culture

42 South Main Street

Museum of Work and Culture

Since the 19th century, Rhode Island has been a state populated by immigrants. Woonsocket stands as one of the best examples in the United States of a predominantly French-speaking city. Its French-Canadian immigrants began to arrive in the Blackstone Valley in the years around the American Civil War. Beginning in the 1880s and continuing through the 1920s, men, women, and children from Quebec came to the Valley, leaving unsustainable family farms behind them, and flooded into the Valley looking for factory work in the region's booming mill towns. But the French Canadians were not the only people coming here to seek work. Irish, Italian, Jewish, Polish and African-American migrants came, as well. As the 20th century progressed, more people from different parts of the world, such as Asia and Latin America, also made this their home.

The Museum of Work & Culture is a true community museum, managed by the Rhode Island Historical Society, supported by volunteers, the city of Woonsocket, and the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission. It exhibits the culture of the French-Canadian residents of the area, the broad story of the other ethnic communities of the Valley, and the role that work and organized labor played in the shaping of these Rhode Islanders' lives. The museum features hands-on experiences for visitors of all ages, as well as films, photographic and Catholic school archives.


Ryan Casey

Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018
This museum was a really cool experience. I had no idea that the mills that formerly existed in this area had such a strong connection to both the former French-Canadian culture of the area (which I also knew very little of) and changing labor rights movements. Very worth a visit

G Rollin Bartlett

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Important history to be learned of Blackstone Valley's role in Industrial Revolution, Immigration, life in a mill village, role of religion in the community as well as the company store. Excellent exhibits and outstanding special events: e.g., French-American celebrations! Parking lot across street and handicapped spaces near door.

Bill Hahn

Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018
Fantastic view into what it was like to work in textile Mills in the 19th century and beyond. A must see for history buffs, unique!

Grammy Bentz

Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018
Pretty cool. Very interesting! My grandkids learned alot n really enjoyed it

stephen sellinger

Saturday, July 1, 2017
I feel like an hour of my life was stolen. A sign on the interstate said "Visitor Center." Followed from one road to another and never found it. Save your time. Save your life

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