The Preservation Society of Newport County, Newport

4.7
The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island’s largest cultural organization, preserves and protects the best of Newport County’s architectural heritage. Its 11 historic properties and landscapes - seven of which are National Historic Landmarks - form a complete essay of American historical development from the Colonial era through the Gilded Age. In keeping with its mission, the Society strives to offer its members and the public a comprehensive view of each property’s architecture, interiors, landscapes and social history. The Society hosts more than 800,000 visits to its properties annually.

In 2004, the Preservation Society was awarded accreditation by the American Association of Museums, a mark of excellence in the museum community. The Preservation Society is also honored to have ten of its historic properties—The Breakers (1895), Chateau-sur-Mer (1852), Chepstow (1861), The Elms (1901), Green Animals Topiary Garden (c. 1860), Hunter House (1748), Isaac Bell House (1883), Kingscote (1841), Marble House (1892) and Rosecliff (1902)—designated as Official Projects of Save America’s Treasures. The Save America’s Treasures initiative is a public-private partnership between the White House Millennium Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, dedicated to the preservation of our nation’s irreplaceable historic and cultural treasures for future generations.

The Preservation Society was founded in 1945 as a private, non-profit educational organization. Admission charges, membership dues, fundraising events and donations help the Society to carry out its mission of protecting Newport’s heritage for present and future generations. Other sources of income include property rentals for private and corporate events, educational sales and product licensing. Further, its historic properties have served as backdrops for a number of major feature films, advertising and photography shoots.

The Society’s central office is located in a former historic home at 424 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. For more information, call (401) 847-1000 or visit www.NewportMansions.org.
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The Preservation Society of Newport County Reviews
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4.8
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  • I had come a few years ago to Newport but quickly and this time I had decided to discover the mansions and cottages characteristic of the Gilded Age , this glamorous era of the beginning of the twentieth century. Most are located along the ocean which adds to the splendor of the place and makes them unique because it is incredible to find mansions resembling the Little Trianon or the Castle of Asnières laid in front of the ocean! preserved by the Preservation Society of Newport. I visited the main mansions: Rosecliff, the Elms, the Breakers, Marble House, which have been greatly preserved or even saved by the Preservation Society of Newport whose members and guides are people so passionate about what they do to beautify and restore! I was fascinated as well by the spectacular decorations incorporating several European styles (French, English, Italian) , composed of rare marble markings as because there is "behind the curtains" ie what is also shown to you during the tours: all the incredibly ingenious machinery at the time designed to produce air conditioning in these huge buildings, heat with gigantic coal kilns, distribute water in spacious bathrooms on all floors, for example pump and pulley systems that even distributed warm seawater, etc. I find it exciting to understand and see how such buildings comprising up to 5 floors (the Breakers) functioned at the time in a very efficient and refined way. Impressed also by the multi-centenary trees thanks to the climate I have not seen anywhere else, the fountains and water games. I had the chance to discover an exhibition of the famous painter (French-born) of american birds Jean-Jacques Audibon in Rosecliff with magnificent scrolls of rare birds. Worthy of a great museum. To see before November. And finally in style, a car ride on Ocean Drive,, magical landscape ...
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  • The tour guides from the society do a great job. We were impressed at the number of homes that have been saved!  more »
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  • The former Osgood mansion, then Pell estate was donated to the diocese of Providence and was turned into St. Catherine Academy for Girls. I graduated from St. Kay's as we affectionately called it, in 1966. My friend and I returned to see what it looked like now in the hands of the PS. I was delighted to see they had refinished the wood in the grand entry hall; at one point it had been painted to brighten the interior. The first floor looked much the same in terms of room size, but the other floors of course were renovated to suit the Preservation Society's needs. My thanks to Barbara Shea for the great tour and bringing back so many wonderful memories.
  • Good for kids. Audio tour. You can also chose between main tour or children tour. Based on diaries, letters, records and oral histories, these audio tours offer the personal stories of the men and women who lived in each house and the household staff who cared for them. At all of the Newport Mansions, you will find a world of exceptional elegance and inspiration in architecture, art, interior design and landscapes. It's a year-round operating schedule. However, some houses are open only seasonally. All properties are closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. It's a journey back in time!

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