NEMA Museums New England

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Museum Profile

Tomaquag Museum

390 Summit Road, Exeter, RI 02822
(401) 491-9063

Tomaquag Museum’s mission is to educate the public and promote thoughtful dialogue regarding Indigenous history, culture, arts, and Mother Earth and connect to Native issues of today.

Tomaquag Museum was established in 1958 by Eva Butler, an anthropologist, with the guidance of the late Princess Red Wing (Narragansett/Wampanoag), and is Rhode Island’s only museum entirely dedicated to telling the story of the Indigenous Peoples of this land. Tomaquag, located in historic Arcadia Village in Exeter since the early 70’s, is also the only Rhode Island museum operated by Indigenous people. It originated in Tomaquag Valley, a hamlet inside the village of Ashaway in the town of Hopkinton, RI.

The Museum has a unique collection of over 20,000 cultural objects along with hundreds of thousands of pieces of archival materials focusing on the Indigenous peoples of New England and Rhode Island. The Museum is well-respected among Rhode Island's and New England's cultural museums, and is visited each year by researchers, students, and travelers from across the United States and throughout the world.

Regular visits by Native professionals, artists, storytellers and others add many perspectives to each visitor's discovery of the world at Tomaquag. Our special programs share Native perspectives on traditional health and well-being, education, history, technologies, culture and the Indigenous arts. Tomaquag hosts classes on beadwork, pottery, weaving, painting among others.

Presentations for the public through our offsite programs, lectures, and cultural presentations bring our culture, traditional arts, and history to the public at large. Tomaquag’s unique educational programs include specialized tours, Native games, Indigenous foods, Ecology of Mother Earth and Eastern Woodland Slide Presentations, Educator's Workshops, conferences, books and curricula on contemporary issues and events. To see some of these programs and artists in action