Newport History Videos

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The French Are Coming to Newport!

This July 14-July 15, 2023, step back in time to Newport in 1780 during the “French in Newport Living History Weekend”. Centered at Washington Square in downtown Newport, RI, meet costumed historical interpreters portraying French soldiers, Newport citizens and many recognizable names from history like Rochambeau, George and Martha Washington, Lafayette and Chastellux, and many others. Experience the Museum of the American Revolution’s First Oval Office, taste historic bread from Half Crown Bakehouse, and enjoy a concert presented by the Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes & Drums Corps. For more details, click the link below. The “French in Newport Living History Event” is generously sponsored by The Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail along with Discover Newport.

Living History and Lectures Online

Apart from a handful of tales surrounding his life, Richard Potter is almost unknown today. Two hundred years ago, however, he was the most popular entertainer in America—the first showman to win nationwide fame. Working as a magician and ventriloquist, he personified for an entire generation what a popular performer was and made an invaluable contribution to establishing popular entertainment as a major part of American life. His story is all the more remarkable in that Richard Potter was also a Black man. On Wednesday November 1, 2023, the Newport Historical Society hosted Dr. Hodgson to share the remarkable, compelling—and ultimately heartbreaking—story of Potter’s life, a tale of professional success and celebrity counterbalanced by racial vulnerability in an increasingly hostile world.

Farewell to Ruth Taylor at the 2022 NHS Annual Meeting

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!

An NHS Book Talk With Anderson Cooper on 'Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty'

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.

History in the Making: An Interview with Oleksandra Kovalchuk of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum

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.

Colonial Newport: An American Experiment

A documentary exploring the founding and colonial Golden Age of Newport, Rhode Island.

Life During the Battle of 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.

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.

John Arnold's Marine Timekeeper #4

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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