NEWPORT, R.I. – The Preservation Society of Newport County on Friday announced that they will host two online lectures in September featuring members of its staff speaking on topics in their areas of expertise.

Registration for each lecture is required by sending an email to, including the registrant’s full name and the title of the lecture. Information will be sent on how to connect via Zoom video conference.

• Thursday, September 10, at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom: “Women Pioneers of American Landscape Architecture” with Jim Donahue, Preservation Society Curator of Historic Landscapes & Horticulture.

Landscape architecture, as a discipline distinct from architecture and as a profession, was not fully realized until the latter part of the 19th century. And while many are familiar with the accomplishments of male practitioners of that era, there were several successful women landscape architects practicing at the turn of the 20th century who remain relatively unrecognized. This presentation will introduce some of the early “Lady L.A.’s” and their work using images taken from vintage glass lantern slides from The Garden Club of America Collection at The Smithsonian Institution.

Donahue holds a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross in Liberal Arts/Economics and an M.A. in Sustainable Landscape Design & Planning from The Conway School.

• Thursday, September 24, at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom: “The Breakers Geothermal System: A 19th- and 21st-Century Solution” with Patricia Miller, Preservation Society Chief Conservator.

Beginning in 1892, Cornelius Vanderbilt II built The Breakers, a 125,000-square-foot Italian Renaissance-style summer “cottage” equipped with the most advanced domestic technology then available. Architect Richard Morris Hunt’s design for the house relied upon ocean breezes for natural cooling during the summer occupancy and a convection heat system to provide warmth during the winter. More than a century later, risks to the house and its collections, due to extreme fluctuations in relative humidity, prompted the Preservation Society to install a system that would stabilize humidity levels, respect the existing infrastructure, integrate modern technology in a way that did not compromise historic integrity, and also meet sustainability goals.

Miller will explain how 21st-century geothermal technology was integrated with 19th-century heat supply infrastructure to provide climate control at The Breakers.

Miller holds a B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from Columbia University. Adding to her education, she earned a Certificate in Arts & Business Management from the Sotheby’s Institute in London and a Project Management Certificate from ESI/George Washington University.

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