Living History in Downtown Newport

Every summer, NHS’s History Space takes to Newport’s streets with its flagship annual living history event. Dozens of costumed interpreters reenact episodes from the city’s past, with fun and educational street theater that welcomes audience participation.


6th Annual History Space Event: What Happened to Liberty?

The summer of 2019 marked the 250th anniversary of the burning of HMS Liberty, John Hancock's sloop that was seized by the Royal Navy in 1768. This overlooked event, which took place in Newport's harbor three years before HMS Gaspee was burned, is considered one of colonial America’s first acts of defiance against the British Crown. This reenactment was hosted by the Newport Historical Society in August 2019.

A Naval Impressement Reenactment

In June, 1765 violence erupted in Newport when locals, angry at the British Royal Navy's practice of impressing men into their service, captured a Royal Navy long boat, dragged it through the streets, and set it on fire in the center of town. This reenactment event was hosted by the Newport Historical Society in August 2016.

Life During the 1778 Battle of Rhode Island

Images from the NHS’s Fifth Annual Living History Event, August 25, 2018.

Newport’s Old Quarter came to life during this living history event which marked the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Rhode Island and featured daily life in Newport during the summer of 1778 and the weeks surrounding the battle.

Image credit: Caroline Goddard

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