Doris Duke's Rough Point (Photo via Newport Restoration Foundation)

After nearly four years of dedicated leadership, Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) executive director Mark Thompson has informed the board of trustees he will be stepping down in the spring of 2022, NRF Board Chair James Ross announced today.

“Mark’s leadership stabilized the Foundation and advanced our most important priorities,” said Ross in a statement. “He led a complete overhaul of our programs with a clear vision that continued the legacy of our preservation work, earning recognition and respect on a regional and national scale.”

“Both the board, and our community as a whole, are grateful for his energy and dedication,” Ross added.

“Serving as the Executive Director of NRF has been the greatest privilege of my professional career. The commitment of the employees to the organization’s mission is steadfast and unparalleled. NRF’s emergence from the 2020 pandemic as a better and stronger organization is a testament to their hard work and extraordinary adaptability,” said Thompson. 

Ross cited a lengthy list of accomplishments by the NRF under Thompson’s leadership, including:

  • Reopening the Whitehorne House Museum, which had been closed for regular visits since Fall of 2016, with an improved visitor experience in place;
  • Initiating comprehensive architectural studies of both the Rough Point Museum and the William Vernon House;
  • Partnering with Clemson University and the College of Charleston to convene a Keeping History Above Water conference in Charleston;
  • Spearheading efforts to investigate and better understand the water infiltration issues at Rough Point Museum, and initiating the current roof replacement and masonry project;
  • Completing condition assessments of NRF’s collection of historic Newport properties and;
  • Securing more than $200,000 in funding to support NRF’s Trades Program, a project designed to ensure the perpetuation of the historic building trades.

NRF says that Thompson will continue to serve as the executive director of NRF until the spring of 2022. NRF will begin work with a professional recruitment firm to recruit, identify and select an individual who will lead the organization and continue its mission of honoring the legacy of Doris Duke.