Access & Research

Access Policy

The collections of the Newport Historical Society are held as a public trust for the benefit of present and future generations. As stewards of the collection, the NHS is responsible for properly protecting, preserving, maintaining and providing access to these collections. With some exceptions and restrictions, it is our policy that the collections will be available for publication, exhibition, interpretation and education, research, reproductions and derivative work.

We make our collections accessible to the general public to the greatest extent possible through both in-person research appointments and remote research services. NHS is not obligated to assist inquiries that involve excessive time or cost to the institution, and all services are contingent upon staff availability and the physical condition of the collection materials requested. Fees and policies are described below.

Research Appointments

We strongly recommend that you contact us in advance to schedule an appointment. This allows our staff adequate time to prepare for your visit and ensures that we can assist you to our fullest capacity. We cannot guarantee service to walk-ins due to limited space and staff availability.

Appointments are made on a first come, first served basis, with priority given to NHS Members. Fees apply (see below). Appointments are scheduled Monday through Friday, 10am-noon or 1pm-4pm.

Contact us

For research inquiries and to schedule an appointment, please email or call 401-846-0813, ext. 190


Remote Research Services

For researchers who cannot visit the Newport Historical Society in person, NHS staff can conduct some research on their behalf. The first half hour of staff research is free, after which fees apply (see below). After an initial consult by phone or email, NHS staff will provide an estimate of the time and cost for the inquiry. Research will be completed after payment has been received. Please note, NHS is not obligated to assist inquiries that involve excessive time or cost to the institution, and all services are contingent upon staff availability.


Research Fees

NHS Members* Students* RI Residents* Non-Members
Research Library
(secondary resources & genealogy)
Free appointment Free appointment Free appointment $5 / hour
Special Collections
(Archival, Photograph & Object Collections)
$5 / hour $20 / day $10 / hour $10 / hour
Staff Research & Handling $50 / hour $60 / hour $75 / hour $75 / hour

*NHS membership card, RI or student identification required.


Hugh D. Auchincloss III Reading Room Rules

All visitors who wish to utilize collections at the NHS must complete a Researcher Registration Form and adhere to the following rules in the Reading Room and Research Library:


Patron Belongings

  • The NHS reserves the right to decline use of its facilities to any person.
  • Patrons must leave all belongings in designated lockers.
  • No jackets, coats or bags are permitted in the Reading Room.
  • Personal laptops are permitted, but cases must be stored with other personal belongings.
  • Cameras and mobile phones are permitted but monitored; see the Personal Photography Policy and Agreement for requirements and conditions.
  • Scanners, camera stands and lighting equipment are not permitted.
  • No food or drink is permitted in the Reading Room; this includes gum, candy, water and cough drops.
  • All personal items brought into the Reading Room are subject to staff inspection on exit.


Handling Materials

  • Patrons must wash hands before handling collections.
  • Maintaining the original order of the collection is essential to our ability to retrieve artifacts. Please examine one folder at a time and keep materials in order.
  • All collections are non-circulating. All materials must be viewed in the Reading Room or Research Library.
  • Items must be handled with care, and pages turned slowly.
  • Items must remain flat on the table while being viewed.
  • Please refrain from applying pressure when viewing manuscripts and special collections; note taking on the surface of the materials and tracing are prohibited.
  • Items must remain in their protective enclosures. Patrons wishing to view items outside of their enclosures must ask for staff assistance.
    Staff may request that you wear white cotton gloves to limit deterioration of original materials. Gloves will be provided.
  • All items must be returned to staff. Please do not re-shelve materials.


For any questions or research inquiries, please email or call 401-846-0813, ext. 190