The Commissioners and the Review Board

Courtroom, Old State House
Inside the Old State House, the former courtroom of the Sixth District Court serves as a RIHPHC meeting space

Created in 1968, the Commission serves as a board of directors for the agency. It convenes public meetings, sets preservation policy for the office, makes some specific program decisions, and offers professional perspectives from historical and preservation organizations around the state. The public body consists of fifteen members who serve in a voluntary capacity. Ten public members are appointed by the Governor and include a historian, an archaeologist, an architectural historian or an architect, a landscape historian or landscape architect, a museologist, and an anthropologist. Five members serve ex officio: the director of the Department of Environmental Management, the director of the Economic Development Corporation, the associate director of Administration for planning, the State Building Commissioner, and the State Historic Preservation Officer. 

Commissioners include:

J. Michael Abbott, AIA (Commission Secretary) is an architect with over thirty years professional experience with historic rehabilitation and adaptive reuse projects.

C. Morgan Grefe, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Historical Society.

Anjali Joshi, ASLA, SITES AP is a landscape architect.

Rod Mather, D. Phil is Professor of Maritime History and Underwater Archaeology at the University of Rhode Island.

Kaity Ryan is the Executive Director of the Norman Bird Sanctuary.

Clark Schoettle is the former executive director of the Providence Revolving Fund.

Ruth Taylor (Commission Chair) is the executive director of the Newport Historical Society.

Meredith E. Brady (ex officio) is the Associate Director of the Division of Statewide Planning, Rhode Island Department of Administration.

Represented by Roberta Groch

James Cambio (ex officio) is the State Building Code Commissioner.

Represented by Warren Ducharme, R.A.

Terrence Gray (ex officio) is the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

Represented by Paul Jordan

Elizabeth Tanner, Esq. (ex officio) is Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce.

Jeffrey Emidy (ex officio) is Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer.

The State Review Board provides advice, guidance, and professional recommendations to the State Historic Preservation Officer and the Commission, including reviewing and making recommendations on National Register and State Register nominations. The Board includes J. Michael Abbott (see Commissioners) as well as:

Shantia Anderheggen is the owner of Preservation Strategies, a consulting firm that works with historic property owners to protect historic buildings, landscapes, and structures.

Karst Hoogeboom is a landscape architect who has worked at Cape Cod National Seashore and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation. 

Patrick Malone, Ph.D. is an industrial archaeologist and historian of technology. He is Professor Emeritus of American Studies at Brown University.

Ronald Onorato, Ph.D. (Board Chair) is Professor Emeritus of Art and Architectural History at the University of Rhode Island.

Itohan Osayimwese, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of History of Art & Architecture at Brown University, where she is also an affiliate faculty in Africana Studies, Urban Studies, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Edward F. Sanderson is a former Executive Director of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission and a former State Historic Preservation Officer.

Keith Stokes is Vice President of 1696 Heritage Group, a consulting firm that helps persons and institutions of color expand their knowledge and access to their unique American heritage.

Kate Wells is the Curator of Rhode Island Collections in the Special Collections department at Providence Public Library where she facilitates communication, inclusion, and connections to history by supporting community archives as well as outreach and creative use of library collections. 

Martha Werenfels, FAIA, LEED AP is a Senior Principal Architect at DBVW Architects in Providence.