RIHS Names Richard Ring Deputy Executive Director for Collections

F RIHS EDIT Portrait


Career Spanning Two Decades Includes Libraries, Exhibitions, Higher Education

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Nov. 29, 2017) ??? After an extensive search, the Rhode Island Historical Society announced the appointment of Richard J. Ring, M.L.S., as Deputy Executive Director for Collections and Interpretation, a position which includes management of the largest and most significant historical collections in existence relating to Rhode Island.

During a career defined by his ???goal to transform the perception of archives and historical collections from arcane and intimidating spaces into places of engagement and inspiration,??? Ring was most recently Head Curator of the Watkinson Library at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., and has also served in such positions as Reference and Acquisitions Librarian at the John Carter Brown Library and Special Collections Librarian at the Providence Public Library.

At the RIHS, Ring will lead a talented and experienced staff of seven at the institution???s Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center ??? which is responsible for cataloguing, acquisitions, and conservation ??? while coordinating with the Goff Center for Education and Public Programs, as well as the Museum of Work & Culture, on exhibition planning and visitor services.

???We could not be more thrilled to have Rick joining us at the RIHS,??? said Executive Director C. Morgan Grefe. ???We had an impressive pool of candidates, but what really stood out to us about Rick was that he so clearly shares not only our commitment to the highest standards of care for our collections, but also our dedication to students, teachers, researchers, genealogists, visitors, and history lovers of all backgrounds and interests. It didn???t hurt that he wears his passion for the public good provided by libraries and museums on his sleeve.???

Ring said he looks forward to ???making sure the Executive Director and the staff are provided with the tools and support to carry out the mission of the RIHS to honor, interpret, and share Rhode Island???s past to enrich the present and inspire the future.???

The RIHS???s appointment of Ring to the crucial position of Deputy Executive Director for Collections and Interpretation comes as the organization ramps up preparations for its bicentennial celebration in 2022, and on the heels of a recent decision to make tours at the John Brown House Museum, Robinson Research Center, and Museum of Work & Culture free for schools and other educational organizations. Named a Smithsonian Affiliate in 2015, the RIHS continues to make history more accessible to the broadest public possible, and Ring is the latest addition to a team assembled to care for and build collections representing all of Rhode Island, available to residents from across the state and visitors from around the world.

???There are several things that drew me to the position at the RIHS. It is a homecoming, in many ways: My family lives in Cranston, and I???ve kept up my relationships with former colleagues across the state,??? Ring said. ???Above all, it???s the honor inherent in the work that drew me. Historical societies serve as the evidence rooms of the human past, where the investigator must often go to re-open a ???case.??? But they are also sites where people can reach for stability and authority in the face of increasingly confusing and misleading online spheres.???