Newport Restoration Foundation

Mark Thompson, the new Executive Director of Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF), joined me to chat about all that’s happening, new and to do with NRF and his vision for the organization on What’sUpNewp Radio Edition on AM 1540 WADK.

The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) announced back on January 10, 2018, that they have selected Mark Thompson to serve as the organization’s next Executive Director, following a competitive search. Thompson comes to Newport from St. Leonard, Maryland where he served as Executive Director of Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum.  He began his new role at NRF on February 5, 2018.

“Mark Thompson epitomizes the personal and professional qualities NRF believes we deserve in a leader, and he will bring our programs to new levels of local and national service,” said NRF Board Chair Roger Mandle in a news release at the time of the announcement.

“The entire board was impressed by Mark’s leadership experience as well as his successful track record of amplifying history,” Mandle continued. “He is the ideal person to continue and refresh our programs at Whitehorne and Rough Point, to care for our other properties and to advance the legacy of Doris Duke.”

In his role at the Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum, Thompson led a museum of history and archaeology where he managed a 560-acre site with a staff of 30 people, 40 buildings, and more than eight million artifacts. Previously Thompson served as Maine Maritime Museum’s Regional Director for Southern Maine and Executive Director of the Portland (Maine) Harbor Museum. Thompson earned a Master’s degree in History as well as a Certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Delaware. In addition to being an accomplished nonprofit leader, Thompson earned a JD from American University and practiced law before entering the museum field.

Mandle said Thompson will execute the Foundation’s new strategic plan and oversee a major new initiative at Whitehorne.  The Foundation’s “Keeping History Above Water” program, a nationally recognized effort to protect historic properties/landmarks from the effects of climate change will also be among Thompson’s top priorities, Mandle added.

“The caliber of the staff at the Newport Restoration Foundation is among the finest of any nonprofit organization in the entire country,” said Thompson. “I am thrilled at the prospect of working alongside them. Newport is an incredible city and I’m looking forward to being a part of this vibrant community.”

For more information on the Newport Restoration Foundation, visit

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.