Explore Little Compton’s landscape through maps, photographs, and paintings in our special summer exhibit “Little Compton: A Changing Landscape.”

Maps from 1660 to the present tell the story of changing knowledge about the town, and the changing ways we’ve divided it, moved around, and divided it. Interested in one area? Pick up one of the dozen guides to places in town – from Adamsville to Warren’s Point – to learn more about that local history.

Artists have portrayed the Little Compton landscape since the nineteenth century, creating paintings and photographs that let us enjoy changing views of the town over time. Nineteenth-century paintings by Worthington Whittredge, George Burleigh, Sidney Burleigh, Reginald Marsh and Sarah Wilkinson and contrasted with works by contemporary photographers and painters. And check out the sheep in the attic, too!

Open through October 13

Talk with the Animals!

The owl tells stories of Little Compton, too.

Explore the Collections Barn with some animals that lived in Little Compton. 

The artifacts in the Collections Barn offer insight into the agricultural history of Little Compton. There’s an ox cart, carriages, plows, fishing equipment, even a cow vomit rope. Who better to give tours of these things than the animals who knew them well. Use your cell phone to call (401) 214-6926 and choose tours from a cow, a dog, a horse, a fish, and an owl. And the mouse who curates it all. Get the animal-eye view of Little Compton history. 

Best done at the barn, so you can see the things the animals remember. But you can call from home. Or take a look at the tour brochures

With thanks to the students in the Brown University public humanities program that created these. 

Sakonnet Point Then and Now – Landscape Walk – July 26

Landscape Walk – Sakonnet Point Then & Now 
Friday, July 26
8:30 AM
Meet at the DEM Board Ramp
Park on Bluff Head Avenue or the Town Dock
John Berg of The Nature Conservancy will lead a one-hour landscape walk of Sakonnet Point with Marjory O’Toole of the Little Compton Historical Society.
Free and Open to the Public
Limited to 25 participants
Registration required at 401-635-4035

Gravestone Cleaning Workshop – July 24

Wednesday, July 24 ( AM to Noon) 
The Old Burying Ground on the Commons

Learn to clean historic gravestones safely using materials and methods approved by the Association for Gravestone Studies. Help remove harmful lichens from the gravestones on the Commons and preserve these important historic objects for the next generation to learn from and enjoy.

Once you have attended a workshop you are welcome to join us on any other cleaning day or to borrow a cleaning kit to work at your own pace.

Additional cleaning days:

Aug. 15 5 to 7 pm
Aug. 22 9 am to Noon
Sept. 11 9 am to Noon

Slavery & the Making of Early American Libraries – July 23


Sean Moore, Ph.D.

Slavery and the Making of the American Library

Tuesday, July 23 7 PM

Little Compton Community Center

The Commons

Free & Open to the Public

Hear Professor Sean Moore speak about his extensive research into the many connections between slavery, philanthropy, and the founding of American libraries in his talk entitled “Slavery and the Making of the American LibraryEarly American Libraries: Bristish Literature, Political Thought, and the Transatlantic Book Trade, 1731 – 1814.”

Slavery and the Making of Early American Libraries explores how libraries in colonial America stood at the nexus of two transatlantic trades: the book trade and the slave trade. Books were hand-made by craftsmen in this period and were therefore very expensive, meaning that those Americans made wealthy by slavery and related enterprises like sugar, rum, and shipbuilding were some of the few who could afford books imported from England. They pooled their money in founding pre-public “proprietary subscription libraries” where one would have to buy a share in a library in order to borrow a book, and those shares were so expensive that clergy and other good people could not afford them and could only be made “honorary members.” Much of Dr. Moore’s research focuses on the Redwood Library and Athenaeum of Newport.

Following the talk Dr. Moore will be signing copies of his new book by the same title. Sean Moore is an Associate Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire and an award-winning author. He has family ties to Little Compton and is a frequent visitor here. This event is co-sponsored by the Little Compton Historical Society and the Brownell Library. It is free and open to the public. No reservations required. Doors open at 6:30. There will be a free-will donation jar at the door.

Little Compton: A Changing Landscape – Special Exhibition – Thursday – Sunday 1 to 5 PM

2019 SeasonCover image - Whittredge (2)

Join us this season as we explore the science and history of Little Compton’s changing landscape from its formation as an ancient continent to the present day. Local historians, residents, and environmental scientists have collaborated to share their insights with the public.

Look for our beautiful and informative new book on the subject available in July!

Exhibit Preview Party & Book Launch – Friday, July 5 – Tickets available NOW

Family Day – Saturday, July 6 – Noon to 4 pm – Free & Open to the Public

Exhibit Open:       July – August          Thursday – Sunday              1 to 5 pm


Contact us at 401-635-4035 or lchistory@littlecompton.org for more information.


Our First Community Exhibition: Determination- A Cambodian Experience

thumbnail_20070807_cambodia_0941-1 (2)

Story by Jeff Kenyon:

A photo show portraying various aspects of life in Cambodia will take place at the Little Compton Historical Society, 548 West Main Road (Route 77) on November 16, 20, and 27-30 from 9 AM to 4 PM.  An artist reception and book signing will be held on Sunday, November 18, from 3 to 5 PM.  The exhibit and the opening are free and open to the public.


The show, Determination:  A Cambodian Experience, is taken from the title of a book written by Makna Men recounting his family’s journey in escaping from Cambodia during the horrific reign of Pol Pot, and their life in Rhode Island.  Makna arrived in Rhode Island in 1982, with his mother and four brothers, from refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines.  A graduate of Central High School and Rhode Island College, he earned Master’s degrees from Cambridge College and Brown University.  Currently the senior academic advisor at Bristol Community College, Fall River, Makna, his wife, Samoutta Iem, and their three children reside in Cranston.


DON NGUON arrived in Rhode Island in 1981.  He graduated from Classical High School and graduated at the top of his class from the University of Rhode Island’s College of Engineering.  Don currently works in mechanical engineering in West Bridgewater, MA.  He and his wife Pov Ky live in Providence.  Don is active in documenting cultural events in the local Cambodian community and in using his engineering expertise to design buildings at a local Buddhist temple. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Water for Cambodia.

JEFF KENYON, who grew up in Providence, holds a B.A. degree from the University of Rhode Island and Master’s degrees from Providence College and Rhode Island College.  He has also studied ESL, photography, and Asian Studies at PC.  Jeff became active with the Khmer community while working at Rhode Island College in federal programs for high school students.  He was introduced to Maha Ghosananda, founder of the first Khmer Buddhist temple in Providence, Wat Thormikaram on Hanover Street.  This meeting served as the genesis of his Buddhist studies.  A longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Middletown Rotary Club’s Water for Cambodia, Jeff has followed his interest in street photography both locally and on the streets of Siem Reap and Battambang, Cambodia.   He and his wife, Beryl, live in Little Compton.

Both Makna Men and Don Nguon have returned many times to Cambodia to find relatives separated by the Cambodian Holocaust and to spend time in their respective home villages.  They are active with Water for Cambodia in health and clean water projects that benefit villages throughout Cambodia.

For more information about the Water for Cambodia Project and NGO based in Siem Reap, Cambodia, please visit the web site at waterforcambodia,org.

The Little Compton Historical Society welcomes this community exhibition created by private individuals as the first to use its exhibit space during the winter season. Artists or non-profit organizations interested in exhibiting in the space should contact the Executive Director Marjory O’Toole at 401-635-4035.