URI seeks community members to serve on committee for historic campus building

Preservation, restoration of Oliver Watson House is group’s task

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Oliver Watson House

KINGSTON, R.I. – December 8, 2016 — The University of Rhode Island invites students, faculty, staff and the general public interested in South County history, historic textiles and historic structural and cultural preservation to submit letters of interest to serve on the Watson House Committee.

The Oliver Watson House, the oldest building on University of Rhode Island’s Kingston campus, was built around 1796. In 1888, the state of Rhode Island purchased the 140-acre Watson farm for $5,000 to establish an agricultural school, which grew into present-day URI. The Watson House, now restored and listed as a historic landmark, still stands on the campus. The University is seeking immediate involvement from community members to help incorporate the Oliver Watson House into the 125th Anniversary Celebration of URI., which begins in 2017.

“This building represents a long, proud tradition of higher education in Kingston, and we are asking for help from those who understand the importance of preserving our history here at URI in leading efforts to maintain and restore this treasure,” said Sharon Blackmar, executive assistant to the URI Vice President for Administration and Finance.

Oliver Watson House Hearth
Oliver Watson House Hearth

The Watson House Committee manages and provides care for the restoration process, furnishing and general care of Watson House. The committee will be appointed by and report to the Vice President for Administration and Finance.

The committee is seeking individuals whose skills include at least one of the following: grant writing, marketing and advertising, fundraising, budget and financial planning, customer service, tour coordination and tour guide skills, public speaking, event planning, community service and volunteer ability, educational class organization/instruction, an interest in or familiarity with local history, including the culture and industries of the time period.

The University envisions the building serving students and faculty working on reports and conducting other research-based projects, and members of the public exploring study on local history and families.

Individuals interested in serving on the committee can send correspondence to the Office of the Vice President for Administration and Finance, Attention: Sharon Blackmar, 75 Lower College Road, Carlotti Administration Building, Room 108, Kingston, R.I. 02881, or to sharonk@uri.edu by Dec. 31, 2016.

For more information on the Watson House at URI, please visit http://web.uri.edu/specialcollections/watsonhouse/