The following is a new weekly column about upcoming events, exhibitions, personnel, jobs, and associated topics relating to the tour guide and greeter industry in Newport County. This column is written by Kenneth Proudfoot, Author of The Official 2018 Newport Tour Guides & Greeters Handbook. The Official 2018 Newport Tour Guides & Greeters Handbook is a fully-illustrated handbook that includes comprehensive information about the tour guide business and the wide variety of jobs available in this industry.
Here we are in January — post-Christmas – and Newport has a fewer number of visitors than it hosted in December. As a result, fewer of the city’s big mansions are open and others have reduced hours. There are also seasonal schedule changes at our history museums, art galleries, and historic sites. Check directly with each organization for current openings and visiting hours. Observe snow and weather closings.
AT THE MANSIONS
At the Newport Mansions®, The Breakers, Elms, Marble House & Rosecliff are open daily in January and February. Weekdays, The Elms, The Breakers & Marble House offer visitors guide-led tours. On weekends, these houses revert to self-guided audio tours providing guests with state-of-the-art audio players and headphones. Rosecliff mansion offers self-guided audio tours throughout the week.
The Breakers continues offering the new guided tour first launched in 2017 — “Beneath the Breakers” — throughout the winter. Tours begin every hour on the half hour and are one hour in length. At The Elms, their now world-famous guided “Servant Life Tour,” is offered throughout the winter every hour on the half hour.
WHAT’S NEW FOR 2018
Several new exhibits, guest speakers, classes, and workshops are planned at our mansions and museums for 2018. An ambitious schedule of winter talks and presentations is taking shape for the Newport Historical Society, the Preservation Society of Newport County, the Newport Art Museum, Newport Restoration Foundation, and the Redwood Library and Athenaeum. Subjects and dates will be announced here soon.
ROSECLIFF’S PIERRE CARDIN EXHIBIT EXTENDED; NEW EXHIBIT OPENS IN MARCH
The internationally-renowned Pierre Cardin: 70 Years of Innovation exhibition has been resident at Rosecliff mansion for the past seven months. Originally scheduled to close on January 1st, the exhibit’s popularity has caused an extension through February 25th.
A new exhibit –- Bohemian Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement & Oscar Wilde’s Newport — developed and organized by Audrey Householder, Curator of Exhibitions at the Preservation Society of Newport County, will open to the public at Rosecliff on March 24th. The new exhibition is scheduled to run through November 4th. A formal grand opening will be announced soon and posted here.
2018 WEEKEND OF COACHING ANNOUNCED
Every three years, aficionados of horse-drawn 19th-century road coaches gather in Newport for a big summer Weekend of Coaching. This year marks the third year since the last event. During the weekend of August 16-19, 2018 the Preservation Society of Newport County will host the biggest Weekend of Coaching ever. The weekend will feature driving exhibitions, viewing of the historic coaches as they drive around the streets of Newport, and tickets to a formal dinner dance at the Breakers on Saturday, August 18th. The weekend is led by Honorary Chair Linda Lindh with co-chairs Kenneth Lindh and Beverly Little. Ted Eayrs is the Chair of Coaching. Event updates and ticket information is available at www.newportmansions.org/events/a-weekend-of-coaching
The biggest trend we see for tour companies, tour guides and tourism people is the increase in education sessions and learning opportunities for all the people who welcome the world to Newport. Continuing education is vital to help tour guides, tour planners, and tourism leaders stay fresh and up-to-date with the latest research, books, and exhibits that tell the story of our heritage.
Thankfully, we are seeing more high-level presentations and talks from some of the most important names and from some of the biggest and famous cultural institutions coming to Newport to share their expertise and knowledge with members of the various history and art societies in Newport. New classes, world-class guest speakers, and professional workshops are planned for this year and will be detailed here each week.
Newport’s tourism industry has a high turnover of personnel on an annual basis and also seasonally. There are always job openings in the tour guide and greeter industry. They offer both entry-level audio guide jobs at the mansions, walking tour and harbor tour guide work, and specialty guided tour positions at the mansions and history museums. Additionally, there are other support jobs at all of these locations, including work in the areas of safety & security, parking attendant, gift shop and retail sales, office work, ticket sales, special events, gardening & grounds keeping, warehouse & delivery, and maintenance & repair. Watch for new job postings at www.WhatsUpNewp.com website and at www.Facebook.com/NewportTourGuidesandGreeters.