History Space

Supporting the field of public history through education and demonstration

Immersive Programs

History Space 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

On March 10, 2022, Newport Historical Society hosted Dr. Iris de Rode for a lecture, 'The French Arrival in the “Deserted Town of Newport”'. On July 11th 1780, in the midst of the American Revolution, the French soldiers and officers of General Rochambeau’s Expédition Particulière finally set foot on American soil in Newport, Rhode Island, after their exhausting and particularly long transatlantic voyage. Their first weeks in America were marked by many complications. The French had to care for sick soldiers, buy provisions “for exorbitant prices”, and they built a well fortified camp for their troops because of the constant threat of British attacks. Furthermore, during the first meetings with their American allies and Newporters, it quickly became clear that the French-American relations were marked by mistrust and hostility. This was based on The Seven Years’ War, where they had fought against each other, and on sharp cultural and religious differences. It also became apparent that both armies lacked men, money, ships, and provisions to fight the mighty British Army and Fleet, their common enemy. Based on unpublished source material, this virtual lecture will show that the French panicked, and even considered leaving North America. But this situation changed. Dr. Iris de Rode will illustrate how, during the first months of the French stay in Newport, the mistrust between the French and Americans evolved into trust, and “deep friendships” started to develop. These friendships led to an evolution from fear of losing against the British, to hope for success in their joint military campaign. A few understudied French individuals shaped the conditions for this improvement of Franco-American relations. This special bond, born in Newport, would ultimately lead to the Victory of Yorktown, and to American Independence. More videos are available on our YouTube channel, which you can access by clicking the button below.

Featured Event: The 250th Anniversary of the Boston Massacre

On Saturday March 7, the Newport Historical Society partnered with Revolutionary Spaces, the new organization formed through the merging of The Bostonian Society and the Old State House, to present The Boston Massacre Reenactment and Commemoration. Over 100 costumed living historians traveled from 12 states and Washington, DC to convene in downtown Boston to illustrate the tensions that were present in March 1770, 250 years ago. Photos of the event are courtesy of Chris Lovell Photography and Elizabeth Sulock.

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 History Space
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Our Partners

  • Newport Historical Society

  • Redwood Library & Athenaeum

  • Rhode Island Historical Society

  • Revolutionary Spaces

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