History & Mission
Coggeshall Farm Museum brings to life the history of middle-class farm families in the late 18th century.
Set on 48 acres of coastal farmland in Bristol, Rhode Island, Coggeshall Farm Museum recreates the daily experience of tenant farmers on a salt marsh farm through live interpretation, historic structures, heirloom plants, and heritage-breed animals.
Our Mission: The Mission of the Coggeshall Farm Museum is to preserve this 1790s Rhode Island salt-marsh farm. We serve the local community and beyond as a living museum and vital educational resource through demonstration of daily farm activity and honest interpretation that reflects its historical, multicultural influence.
In 1965, the State of Rhode Island purchased the former Samuel P. Colt estate, including the 48-acre farm now known as Coggeshall Farm Museum, for use as a state park.
With the historic 18th-century tenant farmhouse facing possible demolition, several members of the Bristol Historical Society approached then-Governor John Chaffee for permission to convert Coggeshall Farm into a museum.
In 1968, the Bristol Historical Society signed a lease for the museum site from the State and began the design and construction of new outbuildings. By 1973 the project had expanded beyond the scope of the Historical Society, and Coggeshall Farm Museum was incorporated as its own private, non-profit organization.
Coggeshall Farm Museum was incorporated in 1973 as “a quiet, authentic place for 20th-century Americans to observe the lifestyles of 1750 Rhode Island.” In the last decade, interpretation of the site has refocused primarily on the 1790s, the decade between the American Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, known as the Federalist Era.