Newport Historical Society: Historic Activities planned during Newport’s Winter Festival

Photo Credit: Caroline Goodard



Join the Newport Historical Society for History Walking Tours and Colonial Wedding Expo: A Newport Historical Society History Space Event during Newport’s annual Winter Festival.

Riots and rebellion, enemies and allies! Learn about Newport’s role in the American Revolution.

Tours cost $15 per person, $10 Newport Historical Society members, active duty and retired military with ID; $5 for children ages 5-12; with the Winter Festival button: $12 for adults and $3 for children ages 5-12. All tours depart from the Museum of Newport History & Shop 127 Thames Street, Newport, RI.

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Friday, February 14, 2020 and Friday, February 21, 2020, 4pm: Colonial Newport Lantern Tour Enjoy a lantern-lit walk through Newport’s historic streets. Learn about Newport’s early history including stories of rebellion, revolution and religious liberty.

Saturday, February 15, 2020, 11am: Explore the Newport Colony House Built in 1739, this historic site was a center for Rhode Island’s colonial government. Explore its significant history, including the surrounding square, and view a Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington. This is an interior tour that involves climbing flights of stairs.

Sunday, February 16, 2020, 11am: Creative Survival Walking Tour During African American History month, discover the early history of Newport’s people of color, enslaved and free. This tour looks at the places where the enslaved lived and labored, along with locations where free blacks built their enterprises and supported a new local industry. It concludes in the country’s oldest intact African-American graveyard, “God’s Little Acre.”

Monday, February 17, 2020, 11am: Newport’s British Occupation Walking Tour In 1777 as the Revolutionary War officially began, 7,000 British and Hessian soldiers invaded Newport creating an occupation that lasted for nearly 3 years. Join an expert tour guide wearing an authentic 18th century British military uniform and explore the sites and stories of the soldiers and citizens affected during this time.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020, and Friday, February 21, 2020, 11am: Road to Independence Walking Tour Riots and rebellion, enemies and allies! Learn about Newport’s role in the American Revolution.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 11am: Discover Colonial Newport Walking Tour Hear stories of revolution and ruin, struggles for religious liberty and remarkable entrepreneurship among Newport’s diverse people.

Thursday, February 20, 2020 and Sunday, February 23, 2020, 11am: Rogues and Scoundrels Walking Tour See where scoundrels lived, pirates profited, and criminals were punished. Find out why this colony was known as “Rogue’s Island.”

Saturday, February 22, 2020, 11amRum & Revolution Tour with Rum Tasting*

 *Participants must be 21 or older. From the thriving colonial rum trade through the temperance movement and Prohibition era smuggling, learn about the changing role of alcohol in the community. This tour ends with a Thomas Tew rum tasting at the historic White Horse Tavern. Optional: enjoy the rum tasting in a reproduction colonial rum mug. Tour costs $30 per person, $25 for NHS members and $28 with the Winter Festival Button. For tickets with the rum mug: $50 per person, $40 for Newport Historical Society members and $45 with the Winter Festival button.

Colonial Wedding Expo: A Newport Historical Society History Space Event

Saturday, February 15, 2020 10am – 1pm, Colony House, Washington Square, Newport, RI. Admission is free, donations are welcome.

Much like the present day, weddings in colonial America were a time for celebrating, however, brides did not wear white gowns, nor were diamond rings and wedding registries the norm. Explore colonial wedding traditions interpreted by costumed living historians during the annual winter History Space event.

Activities offered during the program:

  • Talk to a bride dressing for her ceremony.
  • Discover recipes and special foods that were commonly served for this occasion.
  • Learn the story behind couples who were married at the time of the American

   Revolution portrayed by living historians.

  • Discuss wedding traditions for different religious groups that were represented

   in 18th century Newport.

  • And attend a recreated 18th century wedding scenario.

The Colonial Wedding Expo takes place at the Colony House on Washington Square on Saturday, February 15, 2020 from 10am – 1pm. Admission is free, donations are welcome.

About the Newport Historical Society

Since 1854, the Newport Historical Society has collected and preserved the artifacts, photographs, documents, publications, and genealogical records that relate to the history of Newport County, to make these materials readily available for both research and enjoyment, and to act as a resource center for the education of the public about the history of Newport County, so that knowledge of the past may contribute to a fuller understanding of the present. For more information please visit www.NewportHistory.org.

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