The Breakers Newport RI
The Breakers (Photo via The Preservation Society of Newport County)

Strange times these are.

But the increasing amount of free time at hand 

gives us freedom to read more about our history, 

our local families, our historic sites and attractions, and 

better prepares us to be truly ready when our world re-opens.

In addition to the following local web sites where you will

find videos, short history lessons, and photos, here are

a couple reading suggestions for the days ahead.


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 viva la difference! 

The very 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 history, artwork, and artifacts of the places they talk about to their guests. Here is another Newport book to read, learn from, and share. 


  Belcourt of Newport ( – Wonderful videos of the restoration of this gem 

 Fort Adams (

 Touro Synagogue ( – Read the history, view the photo galleries

 Museum of Newport Irish History (

 Rose Island (

 Newport Historical Society (

 Preservation Society of Newport County ( — Several new virtual tours have recently been added to the web site

 Newport Art Museum (

 Gansett Cruises ( – Check out their photo & video galleries 

 Redwood Library and Athenaeum (

 The Newport Experience ( – Includes OceanCliff and the Schooner Aurora

 Audrain Automobile Museum ( – The YouTube site for this museum is worth a look  

 Discover Newport ( – Video, photos & numerous links to more

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Until this public health crisis passes and we are back open for business, take time to read, learn, study, and better understand our city’s exciting heritage. 

Meanwhile, continue to check for openings and available services at our local restaurants, stores, and historical sites on the city’s visitor site at with daily updates on   

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With so many cancellations and postponements, it is wishful thinking to list any upcoming events with any assurance they will take place. The future is still too unknown and constantly changing.  Therefore, this column is suspending its regular detailed listings until such time as Newport re-opens and the major attractions and historic sites post their new schedules and re-set the dates for key events. 

Until then, please check back with daily for schedule updates.  


After you have been leading tours for a while or working in one of the historic mansions with its detailed script, it’s a good idea to review the material and “re-remember” the story you have been sharing with visitors. This is necessary because it is not uncommon to begin telling your own version of the history of the place they work. In that natural process, a few details may be dropped, a key date or figure amended, or the name and date of a particular painting or furnishing forgotten. To be prepared for every question from your guests, it’s a good and prudent idea to review the script of your tour and re-read a book about your site and its family history. It will keep you fresh, re-inspire you, and make you more interesting on your next tour.  Meanwhile, stay current by reading the daily news sites [], attending online lectures, visiting the web sites of historic homes and museums, and read more books and articles about our great City-by-the-Sea. 

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Each week in this column we share tips and strategies for planning,

marketing, and providing quality guest services. If you have a suggestion, 

please send it along to

We’ll share it with all our readers. And you. Thanks!

KENNETH PROUDFOOT, a Newport Tour Escort and Guide, is author of The Official 2018 Newport Tour Guides & Greeters Handbook (Shoreline Press (RI), 2017).