Due to dwindling visitation numbers, directors at the Stephen Hopkins House, have decided to revamp the content of its current interpretation.

The house’s previous interpretation focused solely on Hopkins’s career as a local and national politician as well as serving host to George Washington.

Although a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Hopkins was owner to a number of slaves.

When trying to decide how to include this information into the interpretation of the house, the Hopkins house decided to pair with graduate and undergraduate students from Brown University to decide the best approach to interpreting this piece of information.

Ultimately, based on interviews from museum stakeholders and scholars of Providence’s African American heritage, the students decided that due to the controversial answers from the interviewees, they would set the scene in the house to include slave quarters, but encourage visitors to form their own opinions and perceptions about the character of Hopkins and complex issues of slavery and freedom.

This redesign of the house and its interpretation has been successful in revitalizing visitation and community interest for the Hopkins House.