Teacher Resources

The Preservation Society of Newport County welcomes teachers and students to its historic properties.  Over two centuries of American history, art and cultural development are represented in Newport's historic buildings, which are an ideal learning laboratory for students.

The Teachers' Resource Guides provide suggested lesson plans, tour transcripts and reference materials to support learning standards for elementary students.  Lesson plans adhere to Rhode Island Learning Standards in the Arts and English Language Arts.

Newport's historic buildings allow for an interdisciplinary approach to looking at art and history. We hope you enjoy using the material in the Teachers' Resource Guides.

To arrange for student group tours of Preservation Society properties, please contact our Group Tours Department via email to 



Marble House Mythology and Architecture Tour - Grades 4-8

Marble House was the summer home of Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt.  It was built between 1888 and 1892 as a birthday gift for Mr. Vanderbilt's wife Alva, who imagined Marble House to be her "temple to the arts."

The Marble House Mythology and Architecture Tour allows students to explore the idea that buildings do not just appear - they are created from the ideas and hands of architects.  An architect begins the creative process with inspiration.  This inspiration can come from many sources, including other buildings and works of art, life, feelings, materials, nature, history and people.  Marble House (1888-1892) was a home designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, but greatly influenced by its owner Mrs. Alva Vanderbilt.  Alva loved architecture, history, the mythology of the Greeks and Romans as well as the architecture of the Kings and Queens of Europe.

Marble House Mythology & Architecture Tour Teacher's Guide 

Marble House gold room panel



Green Animals History on Site Tour - Grade 3

Miss Alice Brayton spent her summers in her family's summer house beside Narragansett Bay.  Her father, Thomas Brayton, decided to create a garden, so he hired a Portuguese gardener, Joseph Carreiro, who began planting a garden filled with bushes and trees cut into the shapes of animals.  The garden was so special that Miss Alice called this house and its gardens "Green Animals." 

The Green Animals History on Site Program enables students to understand the art of gardens.  Individual imagination and creativity of students is cultivated through lesson plans and a tour focused on the artistic evaluation of Green Animals.

Green Animals History on Site Teacher's Guide


Architecture at The Elms - Grades 5-8 

In 1898, Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. Berwind hired Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer to design a house modeled after the mid-18th century French chateau d’Asnieres (c.1750) outside Paris. Construction of The Elms was completed in 1901 at a cost reported at approximately $1.4 million. The house is an example of Beaux-Arts style architecture, drawing inspiration from French châteaux of the eighteenth century. It worked as a perfectly coordinated set piece where architecture, art,  landscape and technology formed the Berwinds’ backdrop for receiving the rich and powerful of the Gilded Age.

The Architecture at The Elms Tour program enables students to appreciate architectural elements, principles, and techniques. Individual creativity and imagination of students is cultivated through lesson plans and a tour focused on incorporating architectural and mathematical concepts.



The Breakers and the Gilded Age - Grades 5-8

The Breakers is the grandest of Newport's summer “cottages” and was the summer home of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt II. The Vanderbilts had seven children. Their youngest daughter, Gladys, who married Count László Széchényi of Hungary, inherited the house on her mother's death in 1934. An ardent supporter of The Preservation Society of Newport County, she opened The Breakers in 1948 to raise funds for the Society. In 1972, the Preservation Society purchased the house from her heirs. 

Using research skills, curiosity, and imagination, students will gain an understanding of the role of the Vanderbilts during the Gilded Age. The Breakers tour enables students to understand the role of preservation in today’s society.

The Breakers and the Gilded Age Teacher's Guide