Uncovering the State's first orphanage - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Uncovering the State's first orphanage

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By: Chelsea Priest


A local professor has been digging on the Rhode Island College campus and he's uncovered some interesting items from combs, to toy guns. The RIC Campus was once the site of the state's very first orphanage.

Other items like toy trucks, marbles and jacks were all found by Dr. Pierre Morenon and his team of students and colleagues. He is a professor of anthropology at the college and says, "virtually anything you could imagine that a child could lose, we've found."

For over a decade he's been uncovering objects on the site of the former Rhode Island State Home and School, the first orphanage in the state. Thousands of children went through the school from 1885 all the way to 1979.

Dr. Morenon goes on, "It changes what you think about the significance of this place. It's not just a historic site which it is, it's also, um, a part of a persons living memory."

His favorite item found and also the very first item found was a 1946 Tootsie Toy Truck.

Even after a decade of searching for items, you can still find bits and pieces of items on the campus from the state home and school.

The dig quickly expanded to the Rhode Island State Home and School Project which incorporates stories, artifacts, video and state records from the years the school was open.

Morenon said, "It's an ongoing process, and I don't know where the future will take us."

You can find more information on the project here: http://www.ric.edu/statehomeandschool/current.html

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