The Breakers

Newport’s Winter calendar is filling up. January is just the preview of the busy season ahead for both residents and visitors. Check out the interesting lectures and presentations coming up this week and the next. There is also much to share with our current visitors and guests about the many events during the upcoming 30th Annual Newport Winter Festival, February 16-25.

TOUR GUIDES TIP: Check in with the organizers of these events for work and volunteer opportunities to help them and also add hours in your winter schedule.  

TOURISM JOBS – Winter is a Great Time to Explore New Work Options

Newport’s tourism industry has a regular turnover of people on an annual and seasonal basis. 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  web site and at  


Review the wide selection of lectures, exhibits, talks, classes, and workshops listed below to add to your knowledge and increase your understanding of the people and history of greater Newport.  Cross-sell and promote these many activities with your Winter visitors and guests.


“‘Hot Dogs’ and a ‘Great’ War  The Newport Historical Society will host David Kohnen of the Naval War College on Thursday, January 18 at 5:30 pm as he discusses the importance of baseball in WWI. A century ago, as American forces mobilized to the European front in the First World War, the President of the Naval War College, Rear Admiral William S. Sims, sailed incognito on a secret mission to London. Through a series of accidents, Sims became the first senior American commander to arrive on the European front in April of 1917. This event takes place at the NHS Resource Center, 82 Touro Street, Newport, RI, and costs $5 per person, $1 for NHS members, active and retired military with ID. 

SATURDAY, JANUARY 20 – “The Future of Museums”

Former RISD President, Roger Mandle, will talk on “The Future of Museums” at 2 pm at the Newport Art Museum, 76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport.  Tickets: $15 members/$20 non-members. Info: 401/848-8200. Don’t miss this!


Motors & Mimosas will be the theme at the Audrain Auto Museum (222 Bellevue Avenue, Newport; 401/856-4420) in partnership with La Forge Casino Restaurant. Visitors will enjoy mimosas and pastries while viewing the current exhibit, Grand Touring Cars Through the Decades. 10 am – 12 Noon.


Tonight is the first class in a weekly 4-part mini-course on The Architects & Architecture of the Newport Mansions. Led by Abigail Stewart, Education & Interpretive Specialist with The Preservation Society of Newport County, this education series will explore the architecture styles that define the properties of the Preservation Society. Classes held at 6 pm at the Preservation Society offices, 424 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. Advance reservations required.  Register online ( or call 401-847-1851.


Tell your guests about some or all of these upcoming special events, classes, parades, and lectures. It’s a great way to help them extend their current time here or plan a return visit to the City-by-the-Sea.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2 – Opening Reception – 5pm – 7pm

Opening Reception for the 2018 Newport Annual Members’ Juried Exhibition (February 2 – May 20). Cushing Gallery. Newport Art Museum, 76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. Free for members. $10 suggested donation for non-members.


The Newport Historical Society has four great walking tours coming up in mid-February you should experience. Two tours step off on Saturday, February 17th include Rogues & Scoundrels (11am – 12 noon) and a Lantern Tour of Colonial Newport (4-5 pm). Sunday, February 18th has the popular Discover Colonial Newport (11 am – 12 noon). Monday, February 19th offers the Road to Independence tour.  Tours depart from the Society’s Museum and Shop at 127 Thames Street. Additional information and reservations may be made by calling 401/841-8770.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15 – Educational Program – 5:30PM

The Newport Historical Society will host an 18th century medical lecture. Dr. Hunter, portrayed by first person interpreter Seán O’Brien, will share insight on the latest medical knowledge from England while discussing remedies and cures that are available at his 18th century apothecary shop. A selection of Dr. Hunter’s products, made by Caswell-Massey, will be available for purchase. This event takes place at the Colony House on Washington Square, 5:30 pm. General admission: $5 per person; $1 for Newport Historical Society members along with active duty and retired military. 

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16 – Newport Winter Festival Begins

Opening day of the 30th Annual Newport Winter Festival.  Ask about volunteer and possible work opportunities. More than 150 events with food fun & music. This event runs through Sunday, February 25th. More information available from Winter Festival Office: 401/847-7666.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24 – Educational Program: 10AM – 1PM

In the mid-18th century, Newport was the fifth wealthiest city in colonial America. What jobs were people doing that helped the city become so successful? Join the Newport Historical Society to learn how people made their living. During this colonial career fair, costumed interpreters will represent different occupations that would have been present in this seaport. Jobs range from tradespeople like a printer, milliner and leather worker to merchants such as a toy seller and store owner, along with food service jobs such as a baker, brewer, coffeehouse owner and tavern keeper. This program takes place at the Colony House on Washington Square. Admission is free, donations are welcome.


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.  Go experience this one-of-a-kind exhibit before it closes.  


The Museum of Newport Irish History [] will offer special opening hours (Noon to 6 pm) for six days during Irish Heritage Month in March, beginning on Friday, March 9th.  The museum at 648 Lower Thames Street in Newport will be open March 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18.  The regular season starts with a grand re-opening Memorial Day Weekend, beginning on Saturday, May 26th.  Learn here about Irish immigration to Newport County and the key aspects of Irish influence and contributions to life in Newport.

SATURDAY, MARCH 17 – Parade – 11AM

At 11 am, the 62nd Annual Newport Rhode Island Saint Patrick’s Day Parade will step off in front of Newport City Hall on Broadway.  There will numerous events and activities at Newport’s many bars and restaurants all along the parade route and elsewhere in the city.


NEWPORT COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNUAL EXPO & JOB FAIR 2018. Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina. One Goat Island, Newport, RI 02840. Info: 401/847-1600


Bohemian Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement & Oscar Wilde’s Newport.  Opening day: March 24.  A new exhibition at Rosecliff.  Open daily through November 4th. 9am until 5pm. Additional information available at:


The best leaders, guides, and managers of historic sites, mansions, and tour companies read constantly to know the most about the places they work and to learn the latest research about the places they talk about to their guests.

Here are two classic books to read, learn from, and share.

Historic Preservation: An Introduction to Its History, Principles, and Practice. Second Edition. By Norman Tyler, Ted J. Ligibel, and Ilene R. Tyler.  New York: W.W. Norton, 2009. This is a fine introductory text, written in laymen’s terms, but comprehensive in its coverage of the preservation movement and approaches to its implementation in the U.S.  Both seasoned and new tour guides will find clear teachings here about architectural styles, building technology, landscape preservation, historic districts, and the links between preservation and heritage tourism.

An Uncommon History of Common Courtesy: How Manners Shaped the World. By Bethanne Patrick. Washington, DC: National Geographic, 2011. Newport welcomes visitors and tourists from around the world. Learning more about the manners, customs, greetings, and expressions of people from many nations and cultures is a valuable exercise. Throughout this book, you will learn about the use of language, the role of individual family members in different cultures, the Golden Rule explained across thousands of years of history, and a hundred other insights that will enlighten, amaze, and occasionally, surprise you. Enjoy this uncommon history and vivre la difference!


Famous former tour guides include film director John Badham (“Saturday Night Fever”) who was a tour guide at Universal Studios Hollywood; Robin Williams and Kevin Costner, who worked as tour guides on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland; and former TV host, Regis Philbin, who was a page and studio tour guide at NBC in New York City.


PROUDFOOT is a documentary film producer, tour guide, and author of The Official 2018 Newport Tour Guides & Greeters Handbook (Shoreline Press (RI), 2017).


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