Everything about the Museum of Primitive Art & Culture in Peace Dale speaks to the past. South County’s oldest Museum includes a 2 million year old African hand tool and Mesopotamian cuneiform, as well as “modern” pieces like local Native American splint baskets from the 1800’s among its 15,000 items.
The Museum’s founder, Rowland Hazard II (1855-1918), the ninth generation of Hazards in southern RI, publicly displayed his personal collection of relics of pre-historic civilizations. He issued a general call for other to join him. Area residents responded with arrow points and ax heads. Distant friends and relatives sent collections of Sitting Bull’s war clubs, Australian aboriginal implements, Moundbuilder objects from the Mississippi Valley, and Egyptian beads. The collection was begun in 1892 in the Hazard Memorial building, (now the Peace Dale Library), and moved to the present location in 1930. This building had housed the family’s textile mill’s company store, the mill workers dormitory, the village post office and a public assembly room.