Docents/Museum Guides & Greeters

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Home of Rhode Island's own Founding Father

Do you like people, love history, old houses, and your country?

Do you value active citizenship?

Be part of Benefit Street’s "mile of history" at the Stephen Hopkins House, leading tours for young & old, from around the corner or around the globe! Built in 1707 & 1742, this is Providence’s oldest house and first historic preservation success story, twice visited by George Washington.

It was the home from 1743 to 1785 of merchant, politician and Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Stephen Hopkins. Hopkins, his wife Sarah and 4 of their 7 children, second wife Anne, and her 3 children, and the slaves, Fibbo, St. Jago, Prince, Toney, Adam and Priamus, lived and worked here, through turbulent times in Rhode Island history.

Our visitors learn about the white and black lives led in these 8 small rooms, now furnished with period antiques & Hopkins family heirlooms. The SHH narrative explores the struggle for liberty, and for justice, to balance principles & self-interest, personal tragedy and political fervor, in a way that can be meaningful to people in any time, from anywhere.

History was not made by those who just sat on the couch & waited for others to do it!

Last year, we welcomed over 2600 visitors, from most of the USA and over 44 foreign countries, on Saturdays from May through November, and since December, on Wednesdays too. Our volunteers gave upwards of 1200 hours of their time, some as Docents, some as Greeters, or supporting the museum in other ways. Some came in once, some regularly throughout the year, some do mornings, some stay late on our WaterFire nights!

We celebrated the museum's 88th season with a special luncheon at Newport's famous White Horse Tavern, followed by private tours of the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House and the Old Colony House.

What unites us --- teachers & travel agents, corporate head-hunters & karate experts, doctors & dancers, politicians & postmen, sopranos & students --- is the Stephen Hopkins House mission,

"to bring meaning to early American history for the broadest possible audience and to demonstrate its relevance to a responsible citizenry in the 21st century and beyond."

We want to help our visitors feel that America's history could be their story, and hope that they will ask themselves "Is there a Stephen Hopkins in my community? Should there be? Could I be?"

Come help us -- Meet people from all over the world! Improve your public-speaking skills while you share this complex & compelling story of leadership, service and activism, never more important than it is today.
No membership or connection with the Society of Colonial Dames is required!

Tour guides & greeters needed year-round on Wednesdays 11AM to 2PM, Saturdays 10AM to 4PM, April through November. And we're open til 10PM when it's a full lighting of Water Fire (last tour starts at 9:30)

More opportunities with THE STEPHEN HOPKINS HOUSE

No additional volunteer opportunities at this time.




Mission Statement

"The NSCDA of RI has undertaken the stewardship of the Stephen Hopkins House for the purpose of public education about the life of Stephen Hopkins, his family and slaves, in the context of 18th century America. We seek to promote recognition of Stephen Hopkins’ achievements and the role he played in the birth of our country and the development of the City of Providence, and the Colony & State of Rhode Island. Our ultimate goal is to bring meaning to early American history for the widest possible audience and to demonstrate its relevance to a responsible citizenry in the 21st century and beyond." AMERICA’S HISTORY IS EVERYONE’S STORY


The Stephen Hopkins House - t he original home of Rhode Island's own Founding Father!

This 8-room house, the oldest in the City, built in 1707 & 1742, was home for more than 4 decades to merchant, legislator, judge, 10-time Governor and Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Stephen Hopkins, his family, and their slaves.

A Norman Isham restoration, twice moved but virtually unmodernized, it also served as Hopkins' place of business, and hosted George Washington in 1776 & 1781. The parlor, study, bedchambers (one where Washington slept) keeping room and slaves' room are furnished with period antiques & Hopkins heirlooms.

Below, the parterre garden was designed by Williamsburg landscape architect and Hopkins descendant, Alden Hopkins. In our Gallery
"Samplers: Exquisite Needlework & its Meaning in Early Rhode Island" showing the RI Society of Colonial Dames' fine collection of 17th-19th century American schoolgirl samplers.


We'll work with your schedule.


15 Hopkins St.@ Benefit & GeorgeProvidence, RI 02903



  • History
  • Teaching / Instruction
  • Translation
  • Storytelling
  • Cross-cultural Communication
  • Public Speaking


  • Kids
  • Teens
  • People 55+


  • Must be at least 13
  • Orientation or Training
  • 3-hour shifts 10AM-1PM, 1-4PM, 4-7PM, 7-10PM
  • only WC is down a flight of stairs, tour includes upstairs

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