Library facilities are plentiful throughout the state.The Redwood Library and Athenaeum, in Newport, and the Providence Athenaeum, both proprietary libraries housed in architecturally important buildings, have roots dating to the mid-18th century.

The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera Providence, the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra, the Chorus of Westerly, and numerous smaller groups and organizations are among the state’s musical resources.

The renowned Newport Jazz Festival has been staging annual outdoor performances since 1954 (although it moved temporarily to New York City in the 1970s); the festival is held at Fort Adams, as is an annual folk music festival.

The Rhode Island Historical Society operates the John Brown House Museum, a merchant’s mansion in Providence; built in 1786, the house is furnished with masterpieces of the Newport school of cabinetmakers and with other 18th-century antiques.

The Museum of Work and Culture, in Woonsocket, also run by the society, is an interactive museum illustrating daily life in 19th-century Rhode Island mill towns.

The Newport Casino was built in 1880 as a clubhouse (the name derives from , an Italian term for a summerhouse, rather than any association with gambling) and was the site of the national championships of the U. The Wampanoag dominated the east side of Narragansett Bay, but their numbers were severely reduced by an unknown epidemic that ravaged the Native Americans of Cape Cod and elsewhere in Massachusetts in 1616–19.

On the west side of the bay, the Narragansett, nearly 5,000 strong, ruled about two-thirds of what is now Rhode Island state; in the 1620s they actually expanded their realm at the expense of weaker groups, such as the Wampanoag, to take Aquidneck (Rhode Island) and parts of present-day Providence, Lincoln, Cumberland, and Smithfield.

The public libraries of Providence and Westerly contain important holdings, the former having special collections on whaling, printing, slavery, and Irish literature.

The library of the Rhode Island Historical Society, in Providence, has more than one million manuscripts and is especially strong in its holdings of the state’s genealogical records.

Roger Williams National Memorial (Providence), Slater Mill Historic Site (Pawtucket), and the South County Museum (Narragansett), a living history museum, offer specialized insights into other aspects of the state’s past.