Smith-Appleby House Museum video tour





Take a video tour of the Smith-Appleby House Museum with CW News Now’s Kelly Dwyer! 

Watch the video on YouTube.

Last word on painted rooms


 “The Smith-Appleby house in Smithfield is a near-perfect example of succeeding generations building on what is already there. An 1810 addition to the house, originally built in 1696, revealed a hidden historical treasure during its careful renovation in the late part of the last century.

“I visited in 1981, just after the wallpaper had been stripped and was able to discern stencil designs in four rooms on the first floor and in front hallways and the stairway from the first floor to the attic,” Brown writes in “Painted Rooms,” as she speaks of the detective work involved with old houses. “Many of the designs suggested work by the elusive J. Gleason, but it would require finding and studying many more walls over the next 15 years to attribute the stenciling in a group of Northwestern Rhode Island houses to J. Gleason.”

Read the article, “Last word on painted rooms,” by Joe Kernan.

At Smith-Appleby House in Smithfield, the sugar maple trees are tapped

UntitledAt Smith-Appleby House in Smithfield, the sugar maple trees are tapped at the “Taste Samples, Tunes & Historic House Tours,” event on  March 27, 2013.

Watch the video on YouTube:

East Smithfield Public Library Exhibiting Smith-Appleby House Items



Artifacts on display through month of March.

The Smith-Appleby House has a few historical items on display at the Smithfield Public Library this month.

Read more and see the photos.

The Smith-Appleby House was Filled with Maple Sugar and Pirates



Maple Syrup SMI sa_4679

The Week in Pictures: The Smith-Appleby House was filled with maple sugar and pirates on Saturday, March 16. In addition to a demonstration of how colonial New Englanders gathered and made maple sugar, members of the Rhode Island Pirates visited the house to talk to visitors about the life of a colonial privateer. Colonial reenactor Peter Giammarco of North Providence, right, shows several pirates how a maple tree is tapped to collect sap. (Valley Breeze photo by Elise Manahan)

Decorative painting: It’s all in the details

 As a restoration artist and author, Ann Eckert Brown has traveled around the country and abroad researching interior decorative painting. Turns out, there’s plenty to study right here at home.

Over the course of working on her first two books – one on American painted floors and the other on wall stenciling before 1840 – the Warwick author said she realized that Rhode Island is a “true microcosm of American interior architectural painting.”

“We went to England, Canada, all over, and what we saw in all of those places, we had seen similar work right here in our home state,” Eckert Brown said.

That drove Eckert Brown to pen her latest work, “Painted Rooms of Rhode Island: Colonial and Federal.” It’s a coffee-table-book-

meets-scholarly-work, with colorful, glossy photographs, as well as detailed historical information and archival photographs.

“This was an attempt to get all of my knowledge on Rhode Island decorative painting [before 1840] in one spot,” she said. “It’s a very interesting aspect of our history that many people don’t know much about.”

Eckert Brown said the work is a culmination of decades of research, which began when she was working full-time as a restoration painter and teacher.

The book includes examples of murals, stenciling, floor painting, graining and other techniques found in homes and public buildings in Rhode Island’s five counties. The Colonial-era examples are generally restricted to public buildings and homes built by the wealthiest members of society. During the Federalist period, however, the world of interior decorative painting became more accessible.

“All of a sudden, the middle class had a chance to put up these houses and ornament them the way they used to in England,” she said. “Financially they could move up, and with that they could aspire to have painted walls.”

Many of the works featured in the book are in private homes. Luckily, Eckert Brown did not have to do much convincing to get the current owners to open their doors.

“You’d be surprised,” she said. “People with examples of painted decoration in their homes are kind of starved for people to show it to. And it’s a cozy little group, so they’re all very happy to tell you about the guy down the street who has it, too.”

Some of the more than 50 buildings featured hold stunning examples of interior painting – the Japanning technique developed to imitate imported Asian lacquer furniture found on the walls of Newport’s Vernon House (formerly the William Gibbs), for instance – while others are exceedingly simple, such as a polka dot wall decoration from the Walker House, in East Providence.

They are all important to Eckert Brown, who investigated every piece she could find. To her, it’s more than “eye candy.”

“On the surface, it’s a beautiful book, but there’s a serious motive: To raise public awareness that this is a very important segment of Rhode Island history and it has got to be saved,” she said.

For more information, visit

A book party with author Ann Eckert Brown will be held at the Providence Art Club, 11 Thomas St., Providence, Sunday, Jan. 6, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. It is open to the public.

See for yourself

Most of the spaces featured in “Painted Rooms of Rhode Island” are located in private properties, but a few are open to the public, including:

Smith-Appleby House: Look for painted floor, re-created stencil wall. 220 Stillwater Rd., Smithfield. (401) 231-7363,

Hunter House: Look for faux marble columns, graining. 54 Washington St., Newport. (401) 847-1000, explore/hunter-house.

First Baptist Church: Look for gilded woodwork, floor stenciling fragments, trompe l’oeil faux marble plaques. 75 North Main St., Providence. (401) 454-3418,

GALLERY: Smith-Appleby House Holiday Tours


Guests will enjoy a historical holiday tour, music and seasonal treats on today and next Saturday.

 Read more and see the photos.

Smith-Appleby House Colonial Weekend (Video)

Maggie Botelho describes this fall’s Colonial Weekend at the Smith-Appleby House Museum in Smithfield, RI. 

Watch the video at

Video Tour of the Smith-Appleby House Museum by CW-CW28 Providence

CW-CW28 Providence: YourProvThe CW-CW28 Providence: YourProv Now’s Chris Edmonds takes us to Smithfield for a tour of the historic Smith-Appleby House Museum: 



Smith-Appleby House: Colonial Games, Crafts & Tours at Smith-Appleby House on June 30


“The special events at the Smith-Appleby House Museum presents the 1696 farmhouse in a fun and entertaining way. Among the events include a Colonial militia & military encampment weekend in September, a Gingerbread Baking Day in October, Colonial Dinners in November, and Holiday Celebrations with Santa and Ms. Claus in December. Junes feature the popular colonial games and crafts for kids.”

Continue reading: SMITH-APPLEBY HOUSE
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