Welcome to the BH&PS web site. 
We also have a Facebook page so please don't forget to "Like" us at


1:00 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays
1:00 to 3 p.m. Summer Saturdays (June through October)
and by special appointment.
Also open for the Bristol-Warren Art Night on August 31st from 6 to 8 p.m.

Call ahead for special tours of our collections or for access to our research library.  Books on Bristol history, historic maps, prints and other items are available for sale in our Museum Corner Gift Shop during open hours.

Society members will receive direct mailings of upcoming events 
and this site will provide updates as they occur.  To become a
 member, stop by the Society during open hours or click on 
the membership page to your left.

Summer Thursday Afternoon Walking Tours

3 p.m. Every Thursday
Free to Members and $5 for Non Members
See Schedule on "Historic Walking Tours" Page

Special Walking Tour on Saturday, July 22nd
"Democracy in Spite of Itself" 
with Tour Guide, Clara Read
2 p.m.  Tour begins and ends at 48 Court Street, Bristol, RI
$5 and free to members of the Society

This tour focuses on the rise of the Federalist Party and its impact upon Bristol's architecture.  
Bristol experienced a Renaissance after the Revolutionary War ended.  While our newly formed government was promoting democracy, huge fortunes continued to be made through the slave trade, which remained an intrinsic part of America’s economy.  In order to explore and discuss the economic, social, political and spiritual impacts the slave trade had on the values of democracy, the tour will visit St. Michael’s Church, the Thames Street waterfront and De Wolfe properties, Linden Place and other houses designed by Russell Warren, the Congregational Church and the Bristol County State House.



The Society has created a history book club for the summer and we hope many of you will be interested in joining us for at least one, if not all three, meetings.  Our Executive Director, Dr. Catherine W. Zipf, will be leading the discussions.   See book selection below.

The Society will also provide a simple lunch for each meeting.  Although drop-ins are certainly welcome, it would help us to plan if you would RSVP to 253-7223 or to if you are coming to our first-ever history book club.

All meetings start right at 12:30....doors open at 11:45 for light lunch and chit chat.
(Donations accepted!!!) 

Book Selections and Dates

(Descriptions from

Sunday, August 6th -- 12:30 at the Society

by John Barry

A revelatory look at how Roger Williams shaped the nature of religion, political power, and individual rights in America.

For four hundred years, Americans have wrestled with and fought over two concepts that define the nature of the nation: the proper relation between church and state and between a free individual and the state. These debates began with the extraordinary thought and struggles of Roger Williams, who had an unparalleled understanding of the conflict between a government that justified itself by "reason of state"—i.e., national security—and its perceived "will of God" and the "ancient rights and liberties" of individuals.

This is a story of power, set against Puritan America and the English Civil War. Williams's interactions with King James, Francis Bacon, Oliver Cromwell, and his mentor Edward Coke set his course, but his fundamental ideas came to fruition in America, as Williams, though a Puritan, collided with John Winthrop's vision of his "City upon a Hill."

Acclaimed historian John M. Barry explores the development of these fundamental ideas through the story of the man who was the first to link religious freedom to individual liberty, and who created in America the first government and society on earth informed by those beliefs. The story is essential to the continuing debate over how we define the role of religion and political power in modern American life.


Next Meeting:  September 9, 2017, at 9 a.m.

Society Headquarters

The Club meets regularly on the 1st Saturday of the month except for July and August. If the Saturday falls on a holiday weekend, the group will meet the following Saturday.
Open To All - Just Walk In and Join the Group
send an email to: 
and request to be added to the Genealogy Club Mailing List for notices about upcoming meetings, general genealogical events throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and other information shared between members.

                   Individual Review of Research Problems

We have a very lively group and we devote a portion of each meeting to our "brick wall roundtable" to help members with their individual research problems.  The idea is for members to present their latest "brick wall" so others can help decide what to do next.  The purpose of this short session is not to review an entire family history nor is it to actually solve the entire brick wall but is instead to give ideas on HOW to solve it.

As of December 2015, Fire, Burglar and Security systems at the BHPS are fully installed due to the receipt of a generous $15,000 matching grant from The 1772 Foundation.  The BHPS has motion alarms and security cameras throughout the building, has a secured entry alarm system and a fire alarm system that is directly linked to the Town of Bristol Fire Department.  As part of its 2015 Matching Grants for Historic Preservation made available to organizations in Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island, The 1772 Foundation Grant has enabled the Society to protect its unique research library, its extensive paper document room, the significant portrait collection, and all of the other artifacts throughout the building.

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