Doors Open RI: Behind Every Door is a Story

By Preserve Rhode Island

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About Doors Open RI

Doors Open RI connects people to local places of cultural, historical and architectural significance in an effort to bridge communities and inspire new perspectives on our cities. We believe that by welcoming people into places at the heart of our communities, meeting their stewards and learning their stories, we can forge connections and inspire engagement. We take pride in and care about what we know and love. 

In partnership with cultural and community organizations across the state, Doors Open RI provides behind-the-scenes access to Rhode Island’s best-kept secrets through programs and tours planned throughout the year culminating in a free, citywide, open house festival.

We're a team of dedicated volunteers who love what we do and believe in the powerful impact of our programs.

Doors Open Providence Festival

In September 2017, we held a free city-wide open-house festival that welcomed over 4,000 visitors behind-the-scenes of 24 unique places across Providence. Curious visitors ventured inside the brightly colored Box Office, the attic of City Hall, the drill hall of the vacant Cranston St. Armory, and many other one-of-a-kind gems.

On Saturday September 26, 2020 our free festival will return to Providence when we open the doors to 30+ unique places across the city! It will be our biggest and best festival yet.

Doors Open Pawtucket + Central Falls,  2019

After our great success in Providence, Doors Open RI returned this year with a focus on Pawtucket + Central Falls! On Saturday, September 28th, we gave visitors the keys to 10 unique places at the heart of these two neighboring cities, from the dugout of McCoy Stadium to the grotto beneath Cogswell's Tower (pictured below). For one special day, over 1,000 visitors gained unprecedented access to Pawtucket + Central Falls for free, without tickets or reservations.

Our Plans for the Future

In addition to planning fun and innovative public programs year-round, we envision organizing a biennial Doors Open Festival in Providence, and festivals in other cities across the state in the intervening years. We have an ever-growing list of places we want to explore with you!

We are a team of volunteers working to build Doors Open RI into a collaborative effort organized in partnership with organizations and businesses statewide. We are working on a strategy for long term sustainability so that we can continue to open doors to the great places and spaces of Rhode Island for years to come. 

Doors Open Worldwide

Doors Open RI follows in the footsteps of over 50 cities around the world developing successful citywide open house festivals, such as London, Toronto and New York, NY and smaller cities such as Milwaukee, WI, Baltimore, MD and Lowell, MA. Doors Open RI Founder, Caroline Stevens, previously managed Open House Chicago, now the largest open house festival in the country.

Support Doors Open RI

Doors Open RI is inspired by the belief that welcoming the public inside the gems at the heart of our communities strengthens the connections between people and the places around them. In this sense, we aim to transform our residents into advocates for our built environment and ambassadors for Rhode Island.

We are a small nonprofit*, run by a team of volunteers, trying to do big things. Your contribution will go a long way to making Doors Open RI successful and sustainable. While our festivals and other programs are free for visitors, they aren’t free to organize. Your support will fund programmatic and organizational necessities such as our public programs, supplies, event guides, signage, marketing, and staffing. Please consider making a donation to Doors Open RI today.

Doors Open RI is a program built by and for Rhode Island’s many communities and we would love to welcome you into our community and celebrate what we’re building with you. As a special thank you for your contribution, all supporters will be invited to a potluck event celebrating the success of Doors Open Pawtucket + Central Falls 2019 and anticipating the launch of Doors Open Providence 2020 next year. We will also list the names of all supporters on the “Support Us” page of our website.

However much you are able to contribute...

...your support is KEY to opening doors
in Rhode Island.

*We are a nonprofit fiscally sponsored by Preserve RI. When making a donation to our program it will show up on your credit card as going towards Preserve RI, but all proceeds will go directly to the Doors Open RI program. Thank you for your support!

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Team Members

Caroline Stevens

Leadership Rhode Island