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What Cheer Day: Sports and Games from 18th Century Rhode Island (all ages)

Keep your eye on the ball during the 2019 What Cheer Day! The Rhode Island Historical Society’s annual living history event continues its partnership with the Newport Historical Society in this joint History Space program which will highlight a diverse array of sports and games from 18th century Rhode Island.

On Saturday, June 1, 2019 at the John Brown House Museum, approximately 25 costumed historical interpreters will share leisurely pursuits with visitors. These family-friendly activities will include:
Bowls, the colonial version of bocce/boule.
Rounders, an early variation on the sport we know as baseball.
Games that soldiers enjoyed such as cricket.
Games that children played such as sack races, hoop and stick, along with battlecock and shuttledoor.

Various stations will feature children’s toys, gambling/horse racing, a midwife discussing how to treat sports-related injuries, and a tradesperson demonstrating leatherworking while making a dice cup. There will also be a ladies tea with lawn bowling, known as 9 pins in the 18th century, and a tavern illustrating various card games. Visitors can “step up to the plate” and try their hand at many of these activities while learning about life in early Rhode Island and how people spent their leisure time. Additionally, a series of dedicated/scheduled afternoon activities will include:
Dressing scenario in a lady’s riding habit.
Hairstyling and appropriate headwear for ladies when traveling.
Recreating a scene from a mid-18th century play about a popular card game.

What Cheer Day is free and open to the public. It takes place rain or shine on Saturday, June 1, from noon to 4pm on the lawn of the John Brown House Museum, 52 Power St., Providence, RI 02906. History Space is a Newport Historical Society initiative in partnership with the Rhode Island Historical Society.

image: courtesy of The RI Historical Society

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