The year was 1997. Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts was closing an exhibit on Chinese paintings, and a beautiful dragon head that had been constructed for the exhibit would no longer be needed. With the dragon facing homelessness—or worse—the Children’s Museum of Providence welcomed the dragon in to grace their new building.
Two years later the museum had a contest to name the dragon. An 11-year-old boy from Newport, Rhode Island won the contest; Although the dragon is Chinese, he was given the Japanese name of Nori after a kind of seaweed because he “looked green” and was a water dragon. That same year, Julie Lancia, the creative director who had overseen the dragon’s construction, created a tail to go along with the head. Nori also got a face lift—after so many New England winters, Nori needed some touching up.
Now, after his face lift, and new tail, Nori can surprise and delight museum visitors of all ages. While driving through the old industrial area of Providence, you can turn a corner and suddenly find yourself staring up at a giant smiling dragon crawling down from the rooftop.
Know Before You Go
Check the museum website for hours and admission information.
There is a small parking lot next to the museum. The tail of the dragon can be seen from the parking lot. The head is on the opposite side of the building.