about us


PIHPS was formed in 1983 with a mission to collect and preserve the history of Prudence Island and to provide access to this historical collection for current and future generations.  The Society became incorporated as a non-profit in the State of Rhode Island in 1985 and a federally tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization in 1986 (Appendix I).

Since its founding, the Society has worked with both local and state organizations to further the preservation of island history and its place in the history of RI.  In 1986, PIHPS partnered with the RI Historical Society and other local historical societies on a project called "Rhode Island's Islands."  The project involved hosting community workshops on Prudence and obtaining oral histories from many longtime islanders.  In 1994, PIHPS hosted a meeting of the League of RI Historical Societies. More than 60 representatives from other RI historical societies participated in the event.  In 2006, PIHPS hosted a visit to Prudence Island by representatives of the RI Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) to identify possible locations of Indian archaeology sites around Narragansett Bay. In 2009, PIHPS worked with RIMAP, the RI Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission and other RI organizations to highlight the role of RI in the American Revolution and to list related sites.  The Society frequently responds to requests for family tours of the island and provides historical data to individuals seeking information on family members and properties connected with Prudence Island.  The PIHPS website offers a summary of the Society's archival collection, PowerPoint historical presentations and photo albums dating back to 1890.  The website now handles 24,460 page requests per month with the majority of requests involving residents of greater RI and MA. (www.prudencehistory.com)

Locally, PIHPS has been involved with many island-based organizations including the Prudence Improvement Association, Prudence Conservancy, Friends of the Prudence Island School, Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NBNERR), and Farnham Farm Trustees.  Notably, PIHPS worked closely with Prudence Conservancy in placing the Farnham Farm on the National Register of Historic Places and in building a commemorative brick floor to preserve Sarah's Path at Farnham Farm.  The PIHPS provides NBNERR with island artifacts for display in its headquarters at the southern end of the island.  The Society donates space and design on its website to the Prudence Improvement Association and supports efforts to maintain the Prudence Island School.  The officers of the PIHPS have offered numerous slide presentations and tours of historically significant sites for island organizations and fund raising events. Also, the PIHPS sponsors summer educational programs for children and young adults.  This year the Society is offering youth memberships, putting PIHPS on Facebook and Twitter, and actively recruiting young members through the Prudence Youth Organization.  New activities planned include a historical scavenger hunt and tour of historic sites and involvement in designing brochure and website materials.  The Society plans to offer summer fellowships for training in archival researching and cataloging and in guiding historical tours.

The Prudence Island Historical & Preservation Society