“He has put the east wing, second story, of Rhode Island Hall in fine condition for this new use, erecting beautiful and commodious cases, wherein our rapidly growing stores of anthropological material can be synoptically arranged and the study of them greatly facilitated.”
–President Elisha Andrews on Professor Jenks’ work on the Museum of Natural History
Rhode Island Hall was named in tribute to Rhode Island residents, who donated half the funds for its construction in 1840. The building was initially devoted to the physical sciences, with lecture rooms on the first floor, a collection of minerals and other objects on the second, and a chemical laboratory in the basement. From 1871 to 1915, the building housed an extensive Museum of Natural History, open to the public and cared for by curator, Professor John Whipple Potter Jenks, Class of 1838. After the physical science departments moved out to larger, more specialized spaces, the building served a variety of academic and administrative functions. In 2006, the building was extensively renovated to LEED Gold standards (Brown’s first) and today houses the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World.