Passage Through History
The Rhode Island State House constructed on top of Smith Hill exerts great power – omni-visible, yet isolated from its peoples and the surrounding urban fabric. Initiating and fostering interactions between visitors to the State House, members of the legislature, people living in the surrounding neighborhoods and the people of Rhode Island would end this isolation by activating the southern State House grounds between the Providence train station and the massive plinth from which the State House rises.
A recreation area designed for all year use and embedded into the park-like setting of the State Capriol grounds invites visitors to slow down, to gather, to rest or to be active, and to connect with nature. Beyond this area, at the foot of the plinth and adjacent to the impressive steps leading up to the State House entrance, the massive, marble clad walls of the plinths are broken open to allow entrance into the exhibition Passage through History utilizing the vast, currently underutilized spaces of the sub-basement, thus creating a connection between the present and the past.
Passage through History depicting the complex past of Providence and the State of Rhode Island, articulating the mechanics of governance, discussing the socio-cultural diversities of the State’s people, and addressing the failures regarding justice, social equity and inclusion is proposed as a didactic, immersive exhibition, accessible to all. Space is provided for temporary exhibitions by students and contemporary artists whose work is rooted in the fabric of Rhode Island.