Your Support is Important!
The Cape Verdean Museum Exhibit is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization staffed entirely by volunteers. We exist and thrive due to the generous support of the many wonderful people who have given us donations small and large. Please consider making a tax-deductible financial donation to the museum today. You can mail your contribution to us or contact us, to make arrangements.
Our goal is to preserve and to celebrate. We are here for the community today and for future generations. Families, school groups and scholars have found us a one-of-a-kind resource for the special history of Cape Verdeans. We are able to tell that story because of the thoughtful gifts we have received. From family photos to ship advertisements, even the debutante ball sash and longshoreman’s hook that sit alongside gifts from the Presidents of Cape Verde, all give an important perspective on Cape Verdean history. If you have something you would like to preserve and share with the community, please contact us. We are particularly interested in items relating to migration from the 1920s to the 1950s, such as passports and immigration documents. We are truly grateful for your support.
About the Museum
The grand opening of our current location in East Providence, Rhode Island, was held on October 8, 2005. The museum opened permanently for regular visitors on March 25, 2006. The current President and original founder of the Cape Verdean Museum Exhibit is Denise Oliveira.
As you may read in our newsletter, the museum and its volunteers regularly take part in cultural events around Rhode Island. The museum welcomes school and group visits by special arrangement. Members of the museum have also made visits to schools for presentations. Please contact our education coordinator for more information.
The museum has held several Tardi Kultural, "Culture in the Afternoon" events, where we have had traditional music, poetry and art.
We also maintain the Cape Verdean Heritage Hall of Fame, which recognizes the extraordinary accomplishments of Cape Verdean-Americans. Family members and people from the community can nominate individuals for this award by filling out a submission form and detailing their nominee’s contributions. Specific guidelines will be released when the next Hall of Fame event is planned.
The museum’s exhibits, like Cape Verdeans themselves, cover a lot of territory. We explore the islands, from early European colonization and the slave-trade era to the nation’s current political and cultural life. This history is told through 16th and 17th century maps, documents and rare pieces recovered from shipwrecks to recent artwork, textiles and ceramics.
Another area we are devoted to is the story of Cape Verdean-Americans. We follow the migration of people to the United States as whalers and seasonal cranberry pickers, as well as packet ship passengers settling in Fox Point and New Bedford. We celebrate the contributions these people made, whether it’s as whalers, stonemasons and longshoremen or through a rich community life that included fundraising dances, history celebrations and pro-Independence groups. We also recognize the work of notable Cape Verdean-Americans, from musicians and athletes to politicians and scholars in our Hall of Fame.
The museum's exhibits are also meant to show the “back-and-forth rhythm” (as one reporter described it) between the Republic of Cape Verde and the people that have come to the United States. Through music, politics and, of course, families, Cape-Verdean Americans have always had a strong connection to their homeland and there are many ties on the Cape Verde islands to New England.
The CVME has one of the largest collections of books in English relating to the history and culture of Cape Verde and Cape Verdean-Americans. From early reports on the slave trade to rare Independence-era pamphlets, the library has a unique, non-circulating collection. Amilcar Cabral, politics, music, geology, food, trade, whaling and 19th century travel are just a few of the topics covered.
In addition, we also have a number of hard to find dramas and documentaries about life on the islands, such as Rabelados, The Non-Violent Rebels of the Cape Verde Islands, directed by Torsten Truscheit and Ana Rocha Fernandes, Catarina Alves Costa's Mais Alma and Gei Zantzinger's Songs of the Badius. Please feel free to explore our books and films on your next visit.
- "Tenor Sax of Jazz Great George Azevedo at Cape Verdean Museum," The Blues Preservation Society, May 4, 2009.
- "A calf sent from Boston allows generations to live in N.E.," Boston Globe, April 26, 2009.
- Museum Opens for the Season," Atlantico Weekly, March 1, 2012.
- “Slavery and the Cape Verde Islands Exhibit,"Providence Journal, September 30, 2008.
- "Jews, Cape Verdeans form bonds at shared seder," The Boston Globe, April 22, 2014.
The museum’s logo was created by artist Carlos Roderick of East Providence and was given in memory of his brother, Ruben J. Roderick, on October 8, 2005.