The Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum is situated on 23 acres in the woods of Saunderstown, Rhode Island on a beautiful millpond and stream, surrounded by gardens, woodland hiking trails, fresh water fishing and more!
Learn & Discover
- Learn about the life and portraits of Gilbert Stuart
- Learn about daily life in the 1700’s
- Learn about waterpower technology through waterwheels
- Learn how corn was ground in the 250-yr-old Hammond Gristmill
- Explore our herb gardens, woodland trails, streams, and birds
- Enjoy scenic views of the 57-acre Carr Pond
- Rent a rowboat and fish or take a quiet tour of the pristine pond
- Explore exhibitions in our gallery
- Paint or photograph on the grounds
Welcome Center and Gallery
Begin your visit at the Admissions Office, explore original works by Stuart and Rhode Island Masters exhibitions in our Gallery, and browse in our interesting Gift Shop.
Museum and Grounds
The Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum is situated on 23 acres in the woods of Saunderstown, Rhode Island on a beautiful millpond and stream. You will discover the 1750 home and birthplace of renowned artist Gilbert Stuart, operational waterwheels for a snuff mill and a gristmill, a fish ladder, and a colonial herb garden. Boat rentals, available to members, provide an opportunity to experience the pristine 57-acre Carr Pond. Our nature trails provide scenic overlooks of the pond and opportunities to observe the birds and wildlife on the property. The Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum is a unique experience.
The Birthplace and Snuff Mill
Take a step back in time when you visit the 1750 home and snuff mill of the Stuart family and learn about the life of one of America ‘s best-known portraitists. This authentically restored eighteenth century, gambrel-roofed workingman’s home is furnished with period antiques. It is a showplace for reproductions of Stuart’s works. Beneath the window of Gilbert’s tiny room, water diverted from the millpond turns the huge wooden undershot waterwheel. Watch the wooden gears turn to power the snuff mill which was used to grind locally grown tobacco in colonial times. Stuart’s Birthplace is unique because it was both a family dwelling and a place of industry. This is the site of the first snuff mill in the American colonies.Birthplace & Snuff Mill
18th Century Gristmill
The fully restored eighteenth century Hammond Gristmill houses the original granite millstones dated 1757. The mill was very important to local farmers, grinding their whitecap flint corn into corn meal for the famous Rhode Island jonnycakes. A succession of milling families lived in the Birthplace house and operated the gristmill. One such family, the Hammonds, were widely-known for their finely ground cornmeal. They lived here and operated the gristmill from 1813 – 1867. After a final restoration in 2007, water once again powered the millstones of the Hammond Gristmill, grinding corn for the first time in almost one hundred years.
Watch the water flow through the sluice gate and turn the fascinating 8000-pound white oak waterwheel. Hear the rumble of the millstones as the miller grinds corn several times a year. Truly an exceptional experience!