Newport’s Old Quarter comes to life on Saturday, August 24, 2019 from noon-5pm, during the Newport Historical Society’s 6th annual summer living history program,Life During the Burning of HMS Liberty.

The summer of 2019 marks the 250th anniversary of the burning of HMS Liberty, John Hancock’s sloop that was seized by the Royal Navy in 1768. This often overlooked historical incident, which took place in Newport’s harbor three years before HMS Gaspee was burned, is considered one of colonial America’s first acts of defiance against the British Crown.

This one-day event features over 50 costumed historical interpreters who will represent all ages and various stations of life, along with conflicting political viewpoints.  Learn and experience aspects of life from 1769 including:

  • Discussions from Governor Wanton along with residents who witnessed the burning.
  • Meeting merchants and tradespeople impacted by the non-importation agreements.
  • Experience a spinning bee presented by Daughters of Liberty at the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House. 

Visit stations around Washington Square such as a tavern, school and printer. Much like the Newport Historical Society’s previous summer History Space events, visitors might find themselves in the midst of hostile debates as the living historians recreate the tensions that surrounded this incident which helped to spark the American Revolution.

Life During the Burning of HMS Liberty will take place on Saturday, August 24, 2019, from noon-5pm in Washington Square, and at the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House 17 Broadway, Newport, RI. Free, donations welcome.