In July 1780, after years of occupation by the British Army during the American Revolution, French ships appeared in Newport Harbor. Thousands of French troops arrived in Newport, RI, marking the beginning of the Franco-American Alliance. The French played a crucial role in helping Americans win the War for Independence and aided local residents as they recovered from the harsh British occupation. During the weekend of July 8-10, 2022, the Newport Historical Society is pleased to announce a special programming and events showcasing life in 1780 Newport.
The French in Newport Weekend will feature living historians portraying recognizable figures such as George and Martha Washington along with the head of the French army, comte de Rochambeau. Dozens of costumed living historians representing both civilians and French soldiers will discuss what it was like to build a relationship with this new ally. Programming will take place outside of the Great Friends Meeting House, the Colony House and the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House.
On the lawn of the Great Friends Meeting House, visitors can step inside the wartime headquarters of George Washington by visiting the Museum of the American Revolution’s First Oval Office Project, a hand-sewn replica of Washington’s sleeping tent. Washington met with Rochambeau and other French leaders under canvas throughout the campaign of 1781. Join costumed staff of the Museum of the American Revolution in immersive explorations of Washington’s tents and campaign equipment and the stories his guard and “military family” in the Revolutionary War.
Additionally, the National Park Service’s traveling archaeology lab will be available on Friday July 8, 2022 and Saturday July 9, 2022. The NPS is also sponsoring a family scavenger hunt which allows participants who complete this activity to enjoy a free sail on schooner Adirondack II on the morning of Sunday July 10, 2022.
The 2022 French in Newport living history weekend will run each day from 11am to 4pm. Admission is free, donations are welcome. This event is generously sponsored by the National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association.
In addition to the living history weekend, the NHS is hosting a French-themed Culinary Adventure on July 7th that kicks off a weekend of French in Newport programming. Enjoy an evening of French hors d’oeuvres, colonial cocktails, and live music on the lawn of the Great Friends Meeting House. Visit George Washington’s campaign tent from the Museum of the American Revolution and speak with living historians including le comte de Rochambeau. Tickets are $175 per person and can be purchased here: https://newporthistory.org/event/french-culinary-adventure-cocktail-reception/