Here’s your chance to tour the armory and military museum of the Artillery Company of Newport, the oldest military unit in the United States operating under its original charter.
The Artillery Company of Newport, chartered in 1741 by the Rhode Island General Assembly during the reign of King George II of Great Britain, is today a ceremonial unit of the Rhode Island Militia, Council of Historic Military Commands. As such, the Company provides cannon salutes, color guards, and honor guards for official state and local ceremonies, as well as for privately sponsored patriotic and veterans’ events.
Throughout its proud history of over 271 years, the Artillery Company has served with distinction in both war and peace, including service in the French-Indian Wars, the War of the Revolution, at the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812, at the First Battle of Bull Run during the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War. Individual Members of the Company have served in each of this country’s 20th and 21st Century military engagements. Individual members of the Company have served in every war fought by the United States.
The Military Museum
In addition to its present day ceremonial activities, the Company operates a military museum in its Armory, located at 23 Clarke Street in Newport. The Museum houses one of the country’s most extensive collections of military uniforms and memorabilia, including uniforms worn by His Royal Highness Prince Phillip, Lord Louis Mountbatten, and Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery of Alamein, all of Great Britain, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, Generals of the Army Dwight Eisenhower and Mark Clark, Generals William Westmoreland, Creighton Abrams, Alexander Haig, and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as other American Commanders.
The Museum collection also includes four bronze cannon cast by Paul Revere in 1798 for the State of Rhode Island, three Civil War artillery pieces, a letter written to the men of the Artillery Company in 1794 by George Washington, and a Gilbert Stuart portrait of Washington, as well as numerous artifacts of particular significance to the history of the State of Rhode Island and the Artillery Company of Newport.
Tour The Museum
The Armory is now open twice a week to the public for tours of their military museum, tourists and locals alike can now visit the armory on Sunday’s from 10 am to 2 pm and on Wednesday’s from 4 pm to 7 pm. The public can either tour the armory themselves as part of a self-guided tour or follow a tour led by a member of The Artillery Company of Newport.
On Memorial Day (Monday, May 29th), the Armory will be open to the public from 11 am to 3 pm.
Admission is free, but they will have a donation bin for those interested in supporting their historic armory and company.
The Artillery Company of Newport is located at 23 Clarke Street in Newport, RI.
For more information on the Artillery Company of Newport, visit www.newportartillery.org.