The Newport Historical Society this week announced that on Monday, July 4th the Colony House will once again be open to the public, continuing a years-long tradition.

The Colony House will be open from 9 am to 11 am to explore the first floor. There is no charge for admission.

A slate of free events is also scheduled to take place in Washington Square. At 11 am, the Declaration of Independence will be read from the steps of the Colony House by the Sons of the Revolution.

Declaration of Independence being read on the steps of the Colony House
Crowd on hand for reading of the Declaration of Independence

Following the reading, the Artillery Company of Newport will fire a 21 Gun Salute in Washington Square. 

Events are free and include:

· 9:00 am – Daughters of the American Revolution hosting wreath-laying at the grave of William Ellery, signer of the Declaration, in Island Park Cemetery.

· 10:00 am-11:00 am, the Newport Historical Society will open the Old Colony House for visitors, the fourth oldest State House in America.

· 10:00 am-11:00 am – Newport Community Orchestra plays at Washington Square.

· 11:00 am: The reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel Roy Lauth of the Rhode Island Society Sons of the Revolution. He will read from the steps of the Colony House, where a 19-year-old Newport native, John Handy, first read the Declaration to the Colony on July 22, 1776.

· Immediately following the reading, the Artillery Company of Newport will fire a 21 Gun Salute to the Nation, using the four cannons purchased from Paul Revere in 1798 by the new state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

The Colony House was the seat of the colonial government in Rhode Island. Here on May 6, 1776, Rhode Island declared it no longer owed allegiance to the British crown.  The Continental Congress’s Declaration of Independence was first read from the front steps of on July 22, 1776.

Washington Square, called “The Parade” in colonial times, will be the site of the 21-gun Salute to the Nation by the Newport Artillery Company, the country’s oldest military organization, chartered in 1741.

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Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.