"Kenneth T. Mars, Jr.: A Life Behind the Lens”

The South County History Center is pleased to announce the launch of a new traveling exhibit, “Kenneth T. Mars, Jr.: A Life Behind the Lens.”  The exhibit will be displayed at a number of sites throughout Rhode Island from April through October 2019.

The exhibit is the first to celebrate and display photographs from the Kenneth T. Mars, Jr. Photograph Collection, which contains more than 25,000 vernacular photographs documenting daily life in South County.  Mars, a life-long resident of South Kingstown, was a member of the Narragansett Indian Tribe, an inductee into University of Rhode Island’s Lifetime Service Society and an usher at the Peace Dale First Church of God.  Following his death in 2011, family members and a local photographer saved the collection.  It was donated to the South County History Center in 2018 to ensure its preservation for future generations.  

Mars’ prolific photograph collection captures more than four decades of South County’s history, including social events, daily happenings and changes to the architectural landscape.  These photographs will help current and future generations uncover local history, undertake historic preservation projects and celebrate the community’s diversity.  

The traveling exhibit has been made possible by a Rhode Island Foundation Community Grant and supporters of the South County History Center’s History in Focus Campaign.  It will open to the public on Sunday, April 28, from 1 – 3 p.m. at the Peace Dale First Church of God (209 Allen Avenue, Peace Dale).  The exhibit’s tour schedule through July 15, 2019, is as follows:

 Peace Dale First Church of God (209 Allen Avenue, Peace Dale)
Grand Opening Sunday, April 28, from 1 – 3 p.m.
Wednesday, May 1, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Friday, May 3, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

South County History Center (2636 Kingstown Road, Kingston)
Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. in celebration of the Kingston Village Fair
Wednesday, May 22, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Thursday, May 23, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Wednesday, May 29, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Thursday, May 29, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Peace Dale Library (1057 Kingstown Road, Peace Dale)
Monday, June 3 – Saturday, June 15 visit skpl.org for hours of operation

Tomaquag Museum (390A Summit Rd., Exeter)
Saturday, June 22, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in celebration of Strawberry Thanksgiving
Wednesday, June 26, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Saturday, June 29, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

Wakefield Mall (160 Old Tower Hill Road)
Monday, July 1 – Sunday, July 14 during regular hours of operation

 Additional tour dates and venues will be announced soon.

To support the preservation and perpetual care of the Mars Collection, the South County History Center launched its History in Focus campaign.  This on-going fundraising effort makes a number of critical archival projects possible, including the digitization of the Mars Collection.  To learn more about the History in Focus campaign, please click here.