The following guided tour options have been arranged for attendees of the 31st VRA Annual Conference in Providence, Rhode Island. Continuing successful formats from recent years, the tour offerings are designed to maximize your experience of one of America’s most historic, scenic, and walkable cities.
All guided tours are free of charge. Unless specified, tours do not require registration and will gather in the lobby of the Providence Biltmore. Tour times reflect a maximum duration and include walking to/from the beginning and end of the tour from the hotel.
Guided Walking Tours
- Wednesday, April 3, 7:30-9:00am. Downtown Providence led by Dietrich Neumann.
This walking tour will present a few of the most significant buildings and public sculptures at the heart of Providence from the 18th to the 21st Century. We will discuss the Providence Renaissance with its creation of Waterplace Park and the re-opening of the rivers and see splendid examples of historic preservation and rehabilitation.
- Thursday, April 4, 7:30-9:00am. Brown University campus led by Dietrich Neumann.
This tour will visit the campus and a number of individual buildings of one of America’s oldest colleges, dating from the 18th to the 21st Century, including works by McKim Mead and White, Philip Johnson and Diller & Scofidio. We will also see one of Richard Upjohn’s late Gothic Revival Churches, St.Stevens of 1862. Please note: this tour will involve scaling and descending the considerable elevation of College Hill.
- Friday, April 5, 12:00-1:30pm. Rhode Island School of Design campus led by Andrew Martinez.
This tour highlights the 135-year history of RISD as it relates to the historic and significant buildings on the RISD campus.
Self-guided Walking Tours
- Independence Trail, http://www.independencetrails.com/
- Providence Preservation Society booklets of Downtown Providence and Benefit Street, $3 each, sold at the conference registration desk. http://www.ppsri.org/ppsresources/walking-tour-booklets
About our tour guides:
Dietrich Neumann is Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Brown University and is a former president of the Society of Architectural Historians and one of the principals on the SAHARA grant.
Andrew Martinez is Archivist at the Rhode Island School of Design and is co-editor of “Infinite Radius: Founding Rhode Island School of Design.”