PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s no secret that Rhode Island has fallen victim to some wild weather over the last several decades.
From severe flooding and tornadoes to blizzards and hurricanes, the Rhode Island State Archives has opened a new exhibit highlighting the impacts of these devastating storms.
The “Wild Weather” exhibit features a variety of dangerous storms that have passed through New England, including the Blizzard of ’78 and the Great Hurricane of 1938.
State archivist Ashley Selima said one of the joys that she finds in these kinds of projects is being able to delve deep into Rhode Island’s history to find material that hasn’t previously been shown to the public.
She said her favorite exhibit is the Great Snow of 1717.
“To see that documentation and hear the voices of those people, including Cotton Mather, which is a very famous New England name, was really fascinating and really spurred the fact that this could be a fun, much larger exhibit and not just be about 1938 and 1978,” she explained.
The exhibit was originally going to highlight only the Great Hurricane of 1938, which was the strongest recorded hurricane in the state’s history.
Another major theme of the exhibits include emergency preparedness and management. Selima said the idea was to show the evolution of response efforts and preparation tactics over the decades.
“It’s about taking the story and understanding that there was a response to every storm at every stage,” Selima said. “Some of it came before, all of it came after, and then seeing how they were beginning to repair for the future.”
Anyone interested in visiting the exhibit can do so during business hours. The Rhode Island State Archives Building on Broad Street in Providence is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.