Educators celebrate Rhode Island's key role in history an effort to encourage educators to discuss the significance of Rhode Island's historic 1663 Colonial Charter and visit the State House where the Charter Museum is located, Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and Rhode Island Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis rolled out today (Friday, November 22) educational materials related to the groundbreaking document that granted the colony unprecedented religious freedom 350 years ago.
In front of a group of educators at the State House, the Governor and the Secretary of State made the announcement. It was timed to coincide with the date of the Charter's arrival in Newport some 350 years ago on November 24.
"I encourage all educators throughout Rhode Island to learn more about the classroom strategies they can use in regards to Rhode Island's beloved historic document and its significant role in the evolution of our nation's judiciary," Governor Chafee said. "Here in our state, Roger Williams was stubbornly resolved to secure the first Colonial charter in history affirming freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and a government not appointed by the King but elected by the people. This is the very foundation of our cultural heritage."
"As Secretary of State, I am responsible for preserving the state's most historic documents, but none have a more important role in the history of our state and our nation than the Royal Charter of 1663," Secretary Mollis said. "Celebrating and preserving our heritage is of utmost importance to me professionally and personally. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be able to walk into our State House and see one of the documents that inspired America's Bill of Rights."
In June, the State of Rhode Island marked the 350th anniversary of the Colonial Charter with a Grand Opening and ribbon cutting for the new Charter Museum on the first floor of the State House. The museum hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. "One of the most historic documents in American history is Rhode Island's original Charter, and we are fortunate that it has been preserved and is on display in the State House," Brown University Historian Ted Widmer said. "To a large degree our little state flavored the whole American experiment."