The RISD Museum was founded on the belief that art, artists, and the institutions that support them play pivotal roles in promoting broad civic engagement and creating more open societies.
Established in 1877 as part of a vibrant creative community, the RISD Museum stewards works of art representing diverse cultures from ancient times to the present. We interpret our collection with the focus on the maker and we deeply engage with art and artists, presenting ideas and perspectives that can be inspiring and complex. We aspire to create an accessible and inclusive environment that builds meaningful relationships across all communities.
Our collection currently contains more than 100,000 works of art and design dating from ancient times to today including paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, costume and textiles, and furniture from all over the world. Of these objects, 3,257 of them are on view in the Museum now, 80,553 of them are available online, and there are 3,483 recent acquisitions.
The RISD Museum provides free access to digital images of public domain materials in the collection for any purpose. We want our collection, scholarship, and interpretive content to be accessed, distributed, and reused by everyone.
The Museum Board of Governors provides oversight of the RISD Museum on behalf of RISD’s Board of Trustees and assists and supports the Museum in fulfilling its mission to acquire, preserve, exhibit, and interpret works of art and design representing diverse cultures from ancient times to the present.
Working collaboratively and responsively, the RISD Museum seeks to cultivate a culture of creative learning with local communities.
- Member Institutions
Students, faculty, and staff from our academic partners receive free admission.
Collaboration offers multiple perspectives, cross-cultural dialogues, and opportunities for free expression. Examples of ongoing and former partners include FirstWorks, Rhode Island Film Festival, Langston Hughes Community Poetry Reading, the Providence Art and Design Film Festival, Stages of Freedom, Community Music Works, Gallery Night Providence, Providence Athenaeum, and Providence Children’s Film Festival.
Pedagogy & Practice
Using a variety of approaches we support topics and issues including multicultural practice, archeology, language learning, and more. Current and past partners include Trinity Repertory Theatre, RI Philharmonic, Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology & Joukowsky Institute of Archaeology and the Ancient World, Newcomer Program, Charles E. Shea High School, International Charter School, Sheridan Center, New Urban Arts, !Providence CITYARTS!, Project Open Door, AS220, and VSA Arts.
- Museum without Walls
Working beyond the Museum’s walls supports an open dialogue and build meaningful relationships with varied audiences and communities. Our off-site initiatives include Community Preparatory School, Leviton Dual Language School, Providence Community Libraries, Providence Public Libraries, CrossRoads Rhode Island, Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment, Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island,and the Partnership for Providence Parks.