The Brown University News Bureau
38 Brown Street / Box R
Providence, RI 02912
401 / 863-2476
Fax: 401 / 863-9595
1995-1996 index

Distributed August 24, 1995
Contact: Mark Nickel

Statements by civic leaders

Brown's Haffenreffer Museum will move to Old Stone Bank building

James H. Dodge
Chairman, The Providence Foundation

The relocation of Brown's Haffenreffer Museum to the former Old Stone dome building on South Main Street not only conforms to and compliments the downtown plan but is a very exciting proposal that will advance the overall development of downtown. The Foundation is dedicated to the development of downtown as an arts, cultural and entertainment area, and the location of a major museum such as the Haffenreffer is a welcome addition to the growing number of arts, culture and entertainment facilities in downtown. The treasures of the museum will be more accessible not only to area residents but to the growing number of tourists who are visiting Providence and Rhode Island. The location of the dome building is excellent - one block from the new Providence waterfront - and adds to the number of facilities that will be easily accessible by the water taxis and ferries that will soon be navigating the Providence River up to Waterplace Park. The Foundation is excited about the move and looks forward to the addition of yet another major attraction in the downtown area.

Lawrence K. Fish
Chairman and CEO, Citizens Financial Group Inc.

We are pleased to have worked with Brown to fulfill the commitment we made to the people of Providence a year ago, when we acquired Old Stone, to help the University in its deliberations with the Resolution Trust Corporation. Brown's decision to acquire these historic buildings will help breathe new life into the heart of the city and bolster Providence and Rhode Island as major cultural and tourist destinations.

[Citizens Financial Group Inc. purchased Old Stone's deposits from the government in July 1994. Citizen officials worked with the RTC over the last year to ensure appropriate care and reuse of the historic gold dome building and assisted Brown in its negotiations with the government, a Citizen's spokesperson said.]

Albert T. Klyberg
President, The Rhode Island Historical Society

The Rhode Island Historical Society and its partners in the Rhode Island Heritage Center, proposed for the Narragansett Electric Company Power Plant at South Street, eagerly look forward to the arrival of the Haffenreffer Museum to the distinguished Old Stone Bank address on South Main Street.

The famed "Gold Dome" building is a great architectural landmark of Providence and deserves a worthy use in its own right. The Haffenreffer Museum with its great anthropological collection deserves a home worthy of its artifacts.

The Haffenreffer would make a welcome addition in the growing number of museum attractions within a few blocks of the Providence River. This is rapidly becoming the new front door to Providence, and a "museum mile" is shaping up on either side of the restored waterway. On the west bank is the proposed Heritage Center with 12 partner museums. The Children's Museum of Rhode Island is developing its own new site on South Street a few blocks away from Davol Square. With the Haffenreffer in the Old Stone Bank and the Museum of Art at RISD nearby, it should be possible for Providence to attract the visitors that these world-class collections richly deserve. Hopefully, a bus loop and water taxi system to Waterplace and the Convention Center can help tie it all together.

Gov. Philip W. Noel
Chairman, Coalition for Community Development

The Coalition for Community Development began working a year ago on the next stage of redevelopment for downcity Providence. This stage will take place in a potentially beautiful and successful area of our city that has been severely eroded by time, neglect and economic circumstances.

We're working to return important buildings to useful service in order to make downcity vibrant again. We want to make downcity a place where people are willing to live and people will find reasons to visit.

The acquisition of the Old Stone building by Brown University, one of the Coalition's founding members, will be a major contribution to our combined efforts at recovering the central part of the city. The relocation of the important Haffenreffer Museum to the "gold dome" building will bring many visitors to downcity and will enhance the Coalition's program to develop new living space, retail businesses, and a thriving arts and entertainment district.

The Haffenreffer Museum will join several other museums planned for the area, along with the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, a new movie theater, the Providence Performing Arts Center, Trinity Repertory Company, Veterans Auditorium, AS220, and the Convention and Civic centers in a walkable, habitable, historic and fascinating urban setting.