John Brown House Museum
John Brown House Museum
4.5
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
The premier 18th-century historic house and museum in the state, presenting important aspects of the social and cultural history of the period when our country was new. The Museum is maintained by the Rhode Island Historical Society. We are currently in our seasonal hours and only open on Saturdays from December 2019 until April 2020. Guided Tours may be at 10:30, 12:00, 1:30, & 3:00 pm on Saturdays but are subject to volunteer availability. Audio and Self Guided Tours are available from 10:00 until 3:15 PM. Last admission into the museum is at 3:30 pm. We have a free parking lot located off of Charlesfield Street. We hope to see you soon!
Duration: 1-2 hours
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Neighborhood: College Hill
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4.5
89 reviews
Excellent
41
Very good
34
Average
11
Poor
3
Terrible
0

Jacqui F
London, UK280 contributions
Sep 2019
The Benefit Street tour starts from the John Brown Museum. You have to book advance and it is a great way to find your way around the historic sites of Providence. Geographically, the tour covers a distance from about the middle of Benefit Street down to the northern end of the street; and historically it roams from the earliest settlers right up to the modern day. The history of Brown University, and the mega rich Brown family who set it up, are inevitably a big part of the story. The family patriarch John Brown features prominently and our guide didn’t shy away from Brown’s less than proud history of slave ownership. There’s also a visit to the Providence Athanaeum, site of some Edgar Allan Poe scandal, and a tour of the First Baptist Church of America, which looks exactly as you would hope a New England church to look. The tour does take a very long time and our teenager was getting a bit fed up at the end, but it was interesting and we learned a lot.
Written February 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ginger F
Murfreesboro, TN18 contributions
Jun 2023 • Business
Scott is the best tour guide! He was very knowledgeable about the history of the Brown family, the Gammel family and history of Providence. He showed us all the amazing architecture and relics in the home and really made the history come alive. The mansion is a must see when in Providence! Especially if you like history!
Written June 19, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Route128North
North Shore, MA9,334 contributions
We took a historical walking tour of Providence offered by the Rhode Island Historical Society that left from the Society’s John Brown House Museum. Since the walking tour isn’t included elsewhere on TA, I’ll report on our tour here, under the Museum, its home base.

The 90-minute tour ($12/adult), called “Benefit Street: A Mile of History,” was excellent. Our volunteer guide was pleasant and well-informed. Her enthusiasm for the preservation efforts that have revitalized Providence was readily apparent! She was happy to answer questions and at the same time quite willing to admit she didn’t know answers to some of them. The tour focused on Benefit Street, but also included some surrounding streets and a brief stop at the First Baptist Church in America (admission charge apparently included with the walking tour). The Church was the only building that we went inside, although we also visited a few lovely gardens on private properties, at least one of which we wouldn’t even have noticed from the sidewalk. Along the route, we saw several of the homes once occupied by the Brown family and learned a bit about the family, including their involvement in the slave trade. We also learned about the architecture of the period as well as the policies for (and politics of!) preservation.

One thing to know is that (at least on our tour) the walk was NOT a circuit ending back at the Brown House Museum. Instead when the tour concluded, we had to walk 10-15 minutes back to the Museum where we’d parked our car. This wasn’t a problem for us, but if you’re on a tight schedule and need to return to the Museum, be sure to factor in this additional time.

I thought the historical walking tour was a great way to see some of the city’s architecture and learn about its history. I recommend this tour to those with such interests.
Written September 30, 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sewkap
El Cerrito, CA437 contributions
Jun 2012 • Family
Let's face it: there is not a lot to do in Providence, unless you love going to clubs. There seem to be a lot of those. I don't ,and I like to gain a sense of the history of a place while there. John Brown was a slave trader and brother of the Brown after whom Brown University is named. He called himself "the cleverest boy in Providence." The house has been very well preserved architecturally, and includes period furniture -- and clothes! The tour is 90 minutes, la little slow for me - and you cannot take photos. The one thing that I wish they would change is to allow us to see the model of the house before we walk around. So, ask to see it! It puts everything in perspective. But you really get a sense of a house of the late 1700's.
There are two tours, one at 1:30 and another at 3, and the museum is open Tuesday-Saturday during the summer. You might want to call 401-273-7507 first. There is a parking lot on the down side of the hill, but I didn't discover this until too late.
Written July 10, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Derek M
Cheltenham, UK41 contributions
Oct 2016 • Couples
It did not start off well. You enter through the car park and head to the door - wrong door! You go around the building - wrong door! Eventually you spot the entrance but the signs are poorly placed and not clear. Inside, a positive welcome and you are given an iPod to self guide. The only problem is that whoever assembled the talks on the iPod was not the person who numbered the exhibits. The explanation does not start well, with portraits having different titles to the explanation and you are not told when to move on. The explanation seems to stop, you move on out of the room and then realise that you need to be back in the room again, or it has moved on and you do not know what it is talking about. It is poorly labelled inside, it is badly lit, and things that really deserve attention being drawn to them are not always being developed fully. A modern interpretation of Washington's inauguration as president through wallpaper in one of the rooms was excellent, but according to my wife, was not mentioned on the iPod - I had given up with this by now out of frustration! It may be better if you take a guided tour, but we arrived in between times for this, so it was not an option. Apart from the Washington room , there was a well informed room devoted to an ill conceived attempt by Brown to join in with the Slave trade, but this had been better explained in Governor Hopkin's house earlier. If you have only time for one of these two houses, go there!
Written October 4, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jenny W
Birmingham, Alabama, United States3,933 contributions
Jul 2015 • Couples
The John Brown House was the first mansion built in Providence, Rhode Island and is located at 52 Power Street on College Hill (bordering the campus of Brown University). The house is named after the original owner and one of the early benefactors of the University, the early American merchant, statesman and slave trader, John Brown (declared a National Historic Landmark in 1968). http://www.rihs.org/museums/john-brown-house/
During our visit in July, the house/museum was open until 4:00 and it was almost 3:30 when we arrived (too late for the guided tour). They did let us take the audio tour and we were told that we could stay until 4:30. Admission prices: Adults $10, Senior & Students $8 and Children 7-17 $6. The audio tour is very extensive; we had to fast forward to finish the visit in time. The audio worked well for most of the time but we found that the sections narrated by the male were a bit hard to hear and we could not change the volume. It was a lovely house with a great history. We found the newer (early 1900's) additions especially interesting. The bathroom off the master bedroom was really nice and visitors are allowed to enter this area for a closer look. Check out the surround shower; it takes a close look to see where the water comes out.
It was also nice to have a few hands on things for children (and adults) to examine. The parlor had small boxes of smells - ship, mahogany, rum cask, gunpowder, dirty linen (ugh).
Written July 4, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CDEMOM
new york181 contributions
Jan 2013 • Couples
The tour is quite interesting. There is something about this tour that gives you a unique perspective of the community, its people and political atmosphere at that time in Rhode Island.
The house and ground is well preserved, should not miss it.
Very limited street parking, there is a designated parking area as per website.
AAA discount with buy 1 get 1 free (the best bargain).
Written January 23, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

rmlandow
Providence, RI13 contributions
Jul 2012 • Couples
Throughout July and into August (for 6 weeks on Thursday evenings at 6:30pm) head to to the John Brown House for the RI Historical Society Concerts on the Green. The venue is lovely: open air on the grass, which is gently sloped like an amphitheater. The music varies week to week and year to year -- American Band, Greg Abate, Duke Robillard, Pendragon (Celtic), and Magnolia (Cajun) are pretty regular with another that varies from Latin jazz to Beach Boys tribute. some food vendors on the spot. Join the RIHS and the concerts are free.
Written August 14, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sexyspeedcat
boston52 contributions
Mar 2012 • Family
I would like to say first that the John Brown house is beautiful, trimmed with great woodwork, a terrific timepiece from a time when architects really cared about there workmanship.
I am sad to say that I did not get to see as much of the house as I would have liked too. I was a party of five and present was another party of five, total ten. Our guide "honey" spoke very fast and seemed very rushed, she continued to look at her watch worried about the next group of people that were to arrive ( they have two tours a day one at 1:30 and at 3:00), also every room in the house is limited to how far you can step inside which is understandable, but when you have a group of ten you can barely fit in the rooms and get a view. There were pretty cool old maps on the walls and we could not even find a minute to stop and read them. Pretty sad that we were so rushed, because I really believe that I would have enjoyed the experience much more if we could have taken our time.
Written April 20, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Grace Fu
Waltham, MA596 contributions
Nov 2021 • Solo
It is free today! And they offer free maps and newspapers. There are three floors in the building, all of them are big and clean.
Written November 26, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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