2019 RHODY AWARD WINNERS

Betty and Carlo are longtime Burrillville preservationists who have found their niche conserving historic gravestones.

In 1999, Betty and Carlo Mencucci joined the Burrillville Historical & Preservation Society and quickly rose to leadership positions on the board. They took up building restoration projects, programs, collections, advocacy, videography, research, and fundraising on behalf of the BHPS. In 2007, the indefatigable duo launched a new project to visit Burrillville’s 130 cemeteries, locate gravestones with GPS, document inscriptions, and assess conditions. “We wanted to reset and repair the stones but did not know how,” said Betty, “We set out to learn the correct methods and materials.” They completed professional training and got to work clearing debris, locating missing stones, resetting, and repairing. In the process of conserving nearly 400 historic gravestones across Burrillville, the Mencuccis strive to build relationships with cemetery owners and neighbors, promoting stewardship. Now they are in demand for workshops across Rhode Island. Kudos to Betty and Carlo for carving out a niche as volunteer gravestone conservators.

Paul has decades of service to Newport as a curator and public scholar of decorative arts, historic architecture, and social history.

While growing up in Newport, Paul F. Miller often admired the historic “cottages” that line Bellevue Avenue. Although considered white elephants by many at the time, Paul’s interest endured and led to a position as a tour guide at The Preservation Society of Newport County. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in French and a Master’s degree in International Relations, Paul was hired as the Assistant Curator at the Preservation Society in 1992 and promoted to Chief Curator in 1995. Over the course of those 26 years, Paul developed internationally-recognized expertise in decorative arts and interiors. His painstaking research and collaboration with original manufacturers supported the restoration of landmark architectural interiors and informed important exhibitions and publications. Included among his many accomplishments are the award-winning restoration of the Gothic Room at Marble House, receiving the Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government, and the publication of Lost Newport: Vanished Cottages of the Resort Era.

The project highlights the village’s multi-layered, sometimes surprising history through a series of nine interpretive signs.

The village of Wickford has a compelling history, embodied in its buildings and landscape but not always obvious to residents or visitors. Historic Wickford, Inc. (HistWick) thought up a way to make this history more evident: a series of nine interpretive markers touching on themes such as the Narragansett settlement of the area, the founding of Wickford, the shipbuilding industry, and the role of African American mariners and women entrepreneurs in the village economy. HistWick partnered with local artists to create original paintings for the markers, forging a connection with the many artists who currently call Wickford home. The Rhode Island Foundation provided the project with critical funding. The markers form the basis of a walking tour, which can be completed independently or with web-based audio, and are the subject of a documentary that aired on Rhode Island PBS. Through these platforms, HistWick highlights the village’s multi-layered, sometimes surprising history, and demonstrates the role education can play in historic preservation.

Click here for the Wickford Walk Video

 

Project Team:          

Historic Wickford, Inc.
Town of North Kingstown
Deborah Sabo


Artists:              

Harley Bartlett
Lorraine Bromley
Donat Beauchaine
Janelle Feigley
Walter Scott
Angel Smith
Dawn Spears
Dan Urish

The Pawtuxet Rangers are community leaders in Pawtuxet Village who interpret Rhode Island’s military and community history and steward the company’s 1843 armory.

“Hip, hip, huzzah!” The Pawtuxet Rangers’ rallying cry reflects the group’s enthusiasm for its mission. Chartered as a militia in 1774 to protect the village of Pawtuxet, the Pawtuxet Rangers were reestablished in 1972 by a group of living history enthusiasts. Today, the group retains its historical role as an independent chartered command for the State of Rhode Island while also participating in parades, reenactments, historical exhibits, educational programming, and community service projects. The Rangers are dedicated stewards of their historic armory, built in 1843, and have supervised numerous preservation and interpretive projects in the building, including an installation related to the burning of the Gaspee and a timeline of Pawtuxet’s history. Established to protect Pawtuxet from war or rebellion, the Rangers today protect the village’s history and preserve the stories of generations of militia members that came before.

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