On October 6, 2022, Newport Historical Society staff, Board and members gathered at the Colony House to celebrate the retirement of our longtime executive director, Ruth Taylor. Ruth has led NHS through an exceptional period of growth and evolution for over 15 years, during which she and the NHS team, with the guidance of the NHS Board of Directors, have provided the public with unparalleled access to the richness of Newport’s history. Thank you, Ruth, for your dedication to and advocacy of Newport's history!
On November 4, 2021, the Newport Historical Society hosted a virtual book talk with Anderson Cooper, discussing his new book 'Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty'. In a conversation with Newport Historical Society Executive Director Ruth Taylor, Cooper discusses his family's legacy, and the impact it has had on shaping his own identity. Joined by his cousin Gladys Szapary, the two Vanderbilt descendants explore their roles as 'family archivists', and the enormity of the task of preserving the Vanderbilt family's letters, photographs, and clothing.
The Newport Historical Society recently sat down, by Zoom, with Oleksandra Kovalchuk, Acting Director of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum. Kovalchuck speaks about the measures the Odesa Fine Arts Museum took to protect their collections in the leadup to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, how the museum has continued to plan for the future, and what American museums can do to support Ukrainian refugees and Ukrainian arts and culture. This interview has been added to the NHS archives as part of our 'History in the Making' initiative: we are living in clearly historic times that should be recorded for the future.
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.
A documentary exploring the founding and colonial Golden Age of Newport, Rhode Island.
On Saturday August 25, 2018 the Newport Historical Society hosted its 5th annual summer living history event. This video captures highlights from the event, which featured life for Newport, RI residents during the Battle of Rhode Island in August 1778.
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.
From the collections of the Newport Historical Society, a marine pocket watch believed to have been made as part of the race to determine longitude at sea, was recently authenticated by curator of Horology, Rory McEvoy of the Royal Observatory, Royal Museums Greenwich, England. Mr. McEvoy verified that the pocket watch is #4 in a series of five marine timekeepers made by John Arnold of London, circa 1772.
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