The new HOF building reflects the
thinking of Dr. Patrick T. Conley, president
of the HOF Board of Directors, and his wife, Gail.

Rhode Island is one of only three states without a museum of state history. To combat the state's negative self-image and to foster pride in our state, the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame will erect a stately and elegant Rhode Island icon that will inspire pride in our state, its people and its heritage.

The Hall of Fame in its new building will not be merely a gallery of eminent Rhode Islanders. Rather, its inductees will come down from its walls and actively engage students and the general public in a continuing dialogue about Rhode Island and our state's contributions to America and the world at large. It will be a 'living' Hall of Fame by relating our history through the narratives of its achievers in a highly technical and visual manner or by reenactors.

Our goal is to exhibit and honor our pantheon of eminent Rhode Islanders and to make their achievements known and accessible to students and the general public through a series of changing exhibits and displays using the latest museum technology. Democracy is not supposed to be a spectator sport with most of the members sitting in the bleachers.

One of the reasons the study of History is an important component of public school education is because such study promotes wisdom. Without the 'lessons' of History, the way we run public affairs can be more of a gamble.

For example, Roger Williams and Dr. John Clarke will discuss religious liberty and the separation of church and state; Stephen Hopkins and Nathanael Greene will describe our contributions to the War for Independence; Thomas Wilson Dorr and Charles E. Gorman will expound upon political and constitutional reform. Samuel Slater and George Corliss will tell viewers about our role in the Industrial Revolution. Royal Little, Warren Alpert, Doris Duke, John D. Rockefeller, Noreen Stoner Drexel and Martin Chase will inform us about creativity and innovation in business and philanthropy.

The model was built by Tony Makawlino
with the assistance of Albert Beauparlant,
a member of the HOF Board of Directors

The Hall of Fame will bring eminent Rhode Islanders back to life while extolling the talent and achievements of living members of the Hall of Fame. The latter will be invited to give public lectures on their careers or to perform in their area of fame (e.g., opera star Maria Spacagna, singer Jeffrey Osborne, or former Secretary of the Navy J. William Middendorf.

The Hall of Fame will hold such recurring events as a George M. Cohan concert, and conduct film festivals featuring works by our motion picture luminaries such as James Woods, Van Johnson, the Farrelly brothers, Anthony Quinn and producer Vincent DiBona. The location of the Hall of Fame building will be in Bristol on Metacom Avenue (named for an inductee) adjacent to Roger Williams University, named for our most prominent inductee. It will be constructed on land once owned by Bristol's principal founder, Nathanael Byfield, and later by U.S. Senator, Governor and General Ambrose Burnside.

The land was most recently owned by Halsey Herreshoff, also an inductee along with his ancestors, John Brown Herreshoff and Captain Nat Herreshoff of America's Cup fame. In addition to its proximity to Roger Williams University, an institution which is willing to aid and partner with the HOF in a variety of ways through its well-regarded outreach program.

The site is in a veritable heritage district that includes within a one-mile radius such attractions and facilities as Blithewold Mansion and Arboretum, the Governor Bradford House, Mount Hope Farm, the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, King Philip's Chair, the Columban Fathers Seminary, the Herreshoff Marine Museum, the American's Cup Hall of Fame, Linden Place, and the historic Bristol County Statehouse and Courthouse, home to the renowned Bristol Fourth of July Committee. In December, 2015, the Bristol Town Council passes a formal resolution inviting the Hall of Fame to locate in Bristol and become a part of this local cultural consortium.

The domed and columned rotunda
is derived from the Roman Pantheon
and Thomas Jefferson's initial building at the
University of Virginia.

The latter is the inspiration for the frontal wings. The southern wing may be the depository for Dr. Conley?s 9,000 volume personal library on Rhode Island History, American History and American Law.

The 7,000 square foot main hall, stretching east from the rotunda, will be the site of exhibits, lectures, historical meetings and conventions and a venue for various civic organizations. It will be lined with the portraits or photographs of Hall of Fame inductees. It will be approximately 22 feet high from its floor to its glass, solar-paneled ceiling with a walkway surrounding it along its side walls at the 11-foot level.

The end of the building will be at a right angle with the hall and consist of two levels each measuring 90 feet wide and 20 feet deep. The first level will contain a service kitchen, toilet facilities, and a storage and shipping area for the books of the Rhode Island Publications Society.

The second level, overlooking the Great Hall, will have a 50-foot- wide conference room in the center overlooking Mount Hope Bay with offices on either side ? one for the hall of Fame, the other for the Heritage Harbor Foundation. There will be an 8,000 square slate patio in the rear of the building with fixed inserts to hold stanchions to accommodate tent installation and removal. The imprint of the building, including stairs and entrance, will be about 13,2000 square feet plus the patio. The upper level second floor rear and the catwalk around the hall will add an additional 3,000 square feet.



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