All Are Welcome

Lippitt House Museum expands visitor access through partnership with national initiative


If you liked Downton Abbey’s architecture and home interiors, good news: Lippitt House Museum at 199 Hope Street is now opening its doors to even more people, in a new way, thanks to a partnership with national initiative Museums for All.

You might have passed the handsome brick house on Hope Street, or perhaps heard of the Lippitts, a prominent family in Rhode Island since colonial times. Their family home was built in 1865 and donated to Preserve Rhode Island in 1981; since then, it has become a museum and National Historic Landmark. Preserve Rhode Island describes the Lippitt House as “one of the best-preserved Victorian interiors in America, allowing visitors to step into Providence’s Golden Age.”

Cathy Saunders, Lippitt House Museum’s Curator of Education, says the organization’s leaders want the museum to be viewed as a community resource and were concerned that admission charges ($10 per person over age 12 and $5 for students) were keeping some people away. In an effort to expand visitor access, Lippitt House started working with Museums for All™, a national initiative of the Institute of Museum and Library Services that partners with four other Rhode Island museums in addition to Lippitt House. The program supports those receiving food assistance (SNAP) benefits by offering free museum admission for up to four people, with the presentation of a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. The program pairs perfectly with Lippitt House’s other efforts to increase accessibility, including self-guided tour options in both Spanish and American Sign Language in addition to guided tours in English.

Since the affiliation’s launch in July, Cathy happily reports that the first participants thoroughly enjoyed their visit soon afterward. She’s optimistic that more visitors will take advantage of the program as people learn of it through press coverage and the museum’s work with other community groups like RI Family Literacy Initiative and
Dorcas International.

Says Cathy, “We hope that as we get the word out through publications like East Side Monthly, we will see more community members take advantage of Museums for All.”

For open hours and other information, visit Lippitt House Museum online or call 453-0688.