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What a gold mine of riches we have here in Newport! The cultural institutions of our city are busy offering a season of stimulating lectures, workshops, exhibits, and presentations. Now – not two months from now – is the time to take advantage of these learning opportunities and further equip yourself with more fascinating stories of the people, art, and heritage of our great city. Our visitors and guests and tourists are depending on you to create and share a memorable experience in our City-by-the-Sea. The more you know, the more valuable you become to historical societies and tour operators, and the more places you can be employed to share your passion and knowledge about our city’s unique heritage. This is also the season to share with visitors some of the many events and exhibits happening in Newport in the coming months.
Check out the following listings and previews of the busy season ahead for residents and visitors alike.
TOUR GUIDES TIP OF THE WEEK: You are an important Ambassador for Newport and the many exhibits, entertainments, and attractions we offer. Each person you interact with may see you as a “The Newporter” and thus representative of the happy attitude and knowledgeable resident of this quintessential seaport. For the very short period of time, our visitors are in our city, we need to give them everything we’ve got and deliver our special brand of hospitality at the very highest level of professionalism we know how. Let each of us strive to establish Newport as the gold standard of hospitality, consistently delivering memorable experiences to one and all.
TOURISM JOBS – HIRING IS HEATING UP
Hiring for the Spring and Summer season is increasing now as the city’s major tour operators anticipate the re-opening of historic properties along with replacing guides and manager vacancies due to normal winter turnover. Harbor sailing and cruise companies, museums, and historic homes’ organizations are reaching out now for new staff. Job openings include tour guides, boat crew, ticket sales, and a variety of support staff.
- There is still time to check in with the Newport Winter Festival (Feb 16-25) for work and volunteer opportunities. Full information available from Winter Festival Office: 401/847-7666.
- The Preservation Society of Newport County needs Ticket Sales Associates, Team Leaders and Associate Team Leaders for their mansion properties (newportmansions.org). The Society will also hold an open Job Fair on Tuesday, February 27. Time to be announced.
- Sightsailing of Newport accepts applications for its jobs year round. Check their website for guidance on applying for sailing jobs, front desk staff, and office positions at Sightsailing.com/employment.
Most of the largest tour and cruise businesses accept job applications year-round.
REMINDER ABOUT THE CITY’S BIGGEST HIRING EVENT: Make a note to attend the Newport County Chamber Of Commerce Annual Expo & Job Fair 2018 on March 20th. Meanwhile, be open to the temporary jobs available this month and next that may lead to a fuller schedule of work. Watch for new job postings at www.WhatsUpNewp.com website and at www.Facebook.com/NewportTourGuidesandGreeters.
SPEAKERS & PRESENTATIONS THIS MONTH
Check out the wide selection of lectures, exhibits, talks, classes, and workshops to add to your knowledge and increase your understanding of the people and history of greater Newport.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8 – Free Illustrated Lecture – The Great New England Hurricane of 1938 – 11am-Noon
Visitors to Newport often ask about the impact of this historic storm that devastated parts of southern New England. Sara Jaworski of Historic New England will discuss the impact and aftermath of the ’38 Hurricane (September 21, 1938) at Rosecliff on February 8th at 11 am. This free lecture sponsored by the Preservation Society of Newport County. Advance registration is required at www.newportmansions.org.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10 – SECOND SATURDAY AT THE MUSEUM
Come to the Newport Art Museum and get a guided tour of a selection of portraits. You will also be able to make a custom photo frame and have your photo taken by a professional photographer. Program free with museum admission. 76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. Register at 401/848-8200.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15 – SEAN O’BRIEN IS DR. HUNTER
On Thursday, February 15, 2018, at 5:30 pm, the Newport Historical Society will recreate aspects of Dr. Hunter’s talk when they 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, the same location where the medical lectures originally took place. General admission costs $5 per person or $1 for Newport Historical Society members along with active duty and retired military.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15 – THE LIFE & GARDENS OF BEATRIX FARRAND
At 6 pm at Rosecliff, Emmy-award-winning documentary filmmaker Karyl Evans will screen this 40-minute production about the life and gardens of Beatrix Farrand (1872-1959), the early 20th century’s most successful female landscape architect. Members: $15/ General Public $20. Reservations at newportmansions.org/learn
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16 – Newport Winter Festival Begins
Opening Day: 30th Annual Newport Winter Festival. Ask about volunteer and possible work opportunities. There are 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 17 – NEW SEASON OF WALKING TOURS
The Newport Historical Society has four great walking tours coming up in mid-February you might consider. Two tours step off on Saturday, February 17th include Rogues & Scoundrels (11 am – 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.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18 – MOTORS & MIMOSAS
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. Tickets: $15. 10 am – 12 noon
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24 – Educational Program: 10 AM – 1 PM
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.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 25 – PIERRE CARDIN EXHIBIT CLOSES AT ROSECLIFF
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.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27 – JOB FAIR – PRESERVATION SOCIETY OF NEWPORT COUNTY
A Job Fair will be held on Tuesday, February 27 at Preservation Society headquarters at 424 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. Hours TBA.
UPCOMING NOTEWORTHY EVENTS: MARCH & APRIL
Tell your guests about these upcoming special events 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.
SPECIAL TOURS AT THE NEWPORT MANSIONS®
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 from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm and are one hour in length. At The Elms, their world-famous guided “Servant Life Tour” is offered throughout the winter at 10:30 am, 12 noon, 2 pm, and 3:30 pm.
FRIDAY, MARCH 9 – MUSEUM OF NEWPORT IRISH HISTORY OPENINGS
The Museum of Newport Irish History [newportirishhistory.org] 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.
THURSDAY, MARCH 15 – THE NATURAL WORLD OF WINNIE-THE-POOH
Kathryn Aalto, author, and landscape architect, will discuss her book and share her thoughts on the intersection of nature and culture in Winnie-the-Pooh. 6 pm at The Elms. Members: $10/General Public $15. Advance reservations required at newportmansions.org/learn
SATURDAY, MARCH 17 – ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE – 11 AM
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.
TUESDAY, MARCH 20 – EXPO & JOB FAIR – 4 PM – 7 PM
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
SATURDAY, MARCH 24 – NEW EXHIBIT OPENING
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: newportmansions.org
THURSDAY, APRIL 5 – ROUGH POINT RE-OPENS
The Newport Restoration Foundation’s (NRF) historic Rough Point mansion will re-open on Thursday, April 5th for Guided Tours. The Foundation will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. This year its exhibitions, as posted on its website (newportrestoration.org) will be: “‘To Preserve and Restore’: Newport Restoration Foundation at 50,” and “A Hand in Design: Exquisite Drawings of Jewelry and Architecture for Doris Duke.” a collaboration between NRF and David Webb New York, jewelry designer to Duke and many other prominent figures from 1948 to the present.” Rough Point will be open for tours through November 11th. Don’t miss this.
COMING SUMMER EVENTS: JUNE, JULY & AUGUST
Share these dates and events with your guests and visitors. Sell and promote our future activities and invite everyone to return here again and again.
THE NEWPORT FLOWER SHOW COTTAGES SMART & SMALL – JUNE 22-24
The annual flower show adds the current trend of tiny homes and combines them both as livable spaces, functional & beautiful, and the prettiest plants and flowers ever. Rosecliff. Information & tickets: NewportFlowerShow.org
THE NEWPORT SHOW ∙ JULY 28-29, 2018
The annual Newport Antiques Show has a new name this year, The Newport Show. This luxury show will, as it has since 2007, feature antique furniture, fine art, jewelry, and unique vintage items from more than 40 dealers. Watch for more details about this show in the coming months. The Newport Show will again be held at the St. George’s School Ice Rink, 375 Purgatory Road, Middletown, RI, and will run July 28 and 29, 2018. Updates at www.TheNewportShow.com. Proceeds benefit the Newport Historical Society and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County.
WEEKEND OF COACHING – AUGUST 16-19
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
BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS
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 is a brand new book to read, learn from, and share.
WORLD WAR II RHODE ISLAND. By Christian McBurney, Brian L. Wallin, Patrick T. Conley, John W. Kennedy, and Maureen A. Taylor. Charlestown, SC: The History Press, 2017. What a fascinating book this is! There is so much about the role of this state during WWII that even native Rhode Islanders have never known. Fourteen short pithy chapters tell the real stories of all the boat building, torpedo testing, training, warfare, the Seabees, and prison camp activities that were happening up and down Narragansett Bay. As the authors explain in the preface, during the war “Rhode Island was an armed camp.” In fact, the state was considered a military district due to its small size and important role with the U.S. Navy and the production of ships, PT boats, torpedoes, Quonset Huts, and general coastal defense. Its location between New York and Boston was critically important and led to the creation of Quonset Point, Davisville, and defense fortifications on several islands in Narragansett Bay. Each of the chapters comes alive with the stories of men and women who contributed to the nation’s success in ending and winning WWII. For tour guides, there are numerous stories centered in Newport that help explain the enormous influence and effect the war had on the people and economy of the city. Thoroughly researched, fully illustrated, and wonderfully written, this book is a treasure.
PROUDFOOT is a documentary film producer, tour guide, and author of The Official 2018 Newport Tour Guides & Greeters Handbook (Shoreline Press (RI), 2017).