For the second consecutive year, The Preservation Society of Newport County gave more than one million tours of the Newport Mansions last year. From January 1 through December 31, 2017, the Preservation Society gave 1,017,586 tours of its 11 historic properties.
In September and October, the Newport Mansions were the most visited museum in New England, outperforming even the largest museums in Boston during those two months. Year-round, the Newport Mansions are consistently among the top four most visited museums in New England.
“Achieving such a milestone for two years in a row shows that historic preservation is important to people. They care about keeping America’s heritage alive,” said Preservation Society CEO & Executive Director Trudy Coxe. “It also demonstrates the sustainability of cultural tourism as a critical component of our local and state economy and the importance of continuing to invest in historic preservation in Rhode Island.”
“I congratulate the Preservation Society on this achievement. What makes it especially impressive is the fact that 40% of the visitation at the Newport Mansions occurs during the so-called ‘off-season’ in Newport, starting after Labor Day through the end of March,” said State Representative Lauren Carson (D-75), Chairman of the Special Legislative Commission on Tourism. “The growth of Newport as a year-round destination strengthens the overall economy by supporting hundreds of jobs in related fields year-round, including hospitality, restaurants, retail, transportation and more.”
“This is a tremendous accomplishment, made even more noteworthy by the fact they have passed this benchmark now two years in a row,” said Lara Salamano, Chief Marketing Officer for the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. “In Newport and throughout the state, we are seeing strong visitation to our high quality attractions, hotels, and restaurants. We congratulate the Preservation Society on this milestone, and look forward to celebrating more successes in the very near future.”
Contributing to the Preservation Society’s recent success has been the growth in its special exhibition schedule. In 2017, the blockbuster fashion exhibition “Pierre Cardin: 70 Years of Innovation” attracted thousands of visitors to Rosecliff. That exhibition will close at the end of February, and in late March the Preservation Society will debut its new exhibition, “Bohemian Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement and Oscar Wilde’s Newport” in The Galleries at Rosecliff.
Also in 2017, the Preservation Society debuted a new tour, Beneath The Breakers, taking visitors on an underground guided tour of the historic boiler room, tunnel and basement spaces of the great house to learn about the domestic technology that made the elegance above ground possible.
Several additional tours are planned to debut in the spring of 2018. These include a new audio Family Tour of Marble House, geared especially toward children like the acclaimed Family Tour of The Breakers. Also new for 2018 will be audio tours of the gardens and landscapes of The Elms and Chateau-sur-Mer.
Four of the Newport Mansions now operate daily year-round: The Breakers, The Elms, Marble House and Rosecliff. The Preservation Society’s other houses – Chateau-sur-Mer, Chepstow, Hunter House, Isaac Bell House, Kingscote and Green Animals Topiary Garden – operate on a seasonal schedule from early spring to late fall.
The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, is a non-profit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history. Its 11 historic properties–seven of them National Historic Landmarks–span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.