Yeah, why are there so many forks in Narragansett Bay? The new exhibit at the Providence Public Library — “Filled In and Paved Over: Excavating the Layers of Field’s Point” — features fascinating artifacts and old photographs illuminating the evolution of this odd little point of land, originally an island.
The point was named after colonist Thomas Field who built a little house there in the 1600s. First used for farming and grazing, a marine hospital was ultimately built on the site once Providence became a busy port. In the ensuing years, Field’s Point was also used for recreation — with hotels and clambakes and swimming — until upstream activity made the water less than salubrious. It has been the site of a small pox hospital, a shipyard, a landfill, a drive-in theater, and on through to its modern restoration and use by Save the Bay and Johnson & Wales. Guest curators Traci Picard from DoorsOpen RI and Dan Mitrovic of the Providence City Archives have created a unique and quirky walk through Providence history.
Comprised of artifacts collected from the shore at Field’s Point, a little point of land at the edge of Providence, along with documents, historic maps, and images providing geographical, chronological, and cultural context for the objects, the exhibit is by turn revelatory, mysterious, elegiac, and comical. Moving through its jumble of offerings, both natural and manmade, is like taking a keen-eyed walk along the water, and leaves a viewer feeling energized and restored.
Exhibit produced by Providence Waterways and the City Archives.
In connection with the exhibition, Picard and Mitrovic will be offering creative, participatory workshops on three dates during the run of the show. The workshops are free, but registration is required. Go here: September 30, October 29, December 4.
Library hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 8:30am to 7pm/ Thursday & Friday: 10am to 5pm/ Saturday: 8:30am to 4pm/Closed Sunday.
The newly renovated library is looking great, particularly the Rhode Island Room, seen below.
And stop throwing your forks in the bay.
Exhibit through December 20, Rhode Island Room, 2nd floor, PPL, 150 Empire Street, (directions)