Public Programs

Supporting the field of public history through education and demonstration

Immersive Programs

NHS seeks to support the field of public history through education and demonstration. This work produces high-quality living history programs and events, including reenactments, traditional trade and craft demonstrations, and workshops. Seminars assist practitioners of public history and inform the public about topics and issues in the field.

Living History and Lectures Online

Newport is a city known for firsts. Between 1755-1756, the first anatomical and surgical lectures in the Colonies were presented by Dr. William Hunter at the Colony House. On Thursday January 19, 2023, the Newport Historical Society hosted “Cure What Ails You”: An 18th Century Living History Lecture with living historian Sean O’Brien. During this in-person program, Sean portrayed Dr. William Hunter and recreated an 18th century medical lecture as if it was Newport in the 1750s. Presented through first person historical interpretation, Dr. Hunter shared insight on the latest medical knowledge from England while discussing remedies and cures that would be available at his apothecary shop. More videos are available on our YouTube channel, which you can access by clicking the button below.

Featured Event: The French in Newport

In July 2022, the Newport Historical Society hosted a weekend-long History Space event featuring the French in 1780 Newport. Costumed living historians representing both Newport residents and French soldiers discussed what life was like when troops first arrived in July 1780, and during their eleven-month occupation. Across the three days of programming, visitors met with historic figures such as George and Martha Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, and the comte de Rochambeau.

The NHS partnered with the Museum of the American Revolution to present their First Oval Office Project, a hand-sewn replica of George Washington’s sleeping tent, and the National Park Service’s traveling archaeology lab offered hands-on activities. The French in Newport weekend was generously sponsored by the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail.

Program Details

  • Reenactments

    Bringing the past to life
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  • Demonstrations & Workshops

    Teaching traditional trades and crafts
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  • Seminars

    Engaging practitioners and the public
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A comment from the Newport Historical Society Youtube videos regarding the Living History Reenactment from August 2019.

“I was in Newport a month back and I had the fortune to witness another reanactment… this was about a ship seized by the British customs …and how the British Navy Captain is forced to set it free. I can’t tell you what great pleasure I had landing in the midst of Ladies and Gentlemen in period clothing.. so thoroughly immersed in their roles that at moments I had this feeling of having stumbled through a time warp. My hats off to all the gentle people and my gratitude to them for making my evening there a memorable one.” – Vinayak Angle

See our living history videos on Youtube by clicking here.

Partner with Us

Museums and historic sites are invited to join NHS in creating public programs
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Our Partners

  • Newport Historical Society

  • Redwood Library & Athenaeum

  • Rhode Island Historical Society

  • Revolutionary Spaces

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