Page 14 - 2017 Preservation Society Summer Gazette
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New Museum Affairs Director Appointed
Lise Dubé-Scherr joined the Preservation Society in July as Director of Museum Affairs, overseeing curatorial, conservation, collections management, exhibitions and academic programs such as lectures and the Newport Symposium.
Ms. Dubé-Scherr has a long and distinguished career in both art
museums and historic house museums. A native of Canada, she held progressively more responsible positions at the National Gallery of Canada, the Allentown (PA) Art Museum, and The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Estate and Gardens in Lenox, MA, where she was Deputy Director and Vice President responsible for all daily operations.
From 2011 to 2017, she was the Executive Director of The Richard H. Driehaus Museum in Chicago, a decorative arts museum housed in a fully restored Gilded Age mansion which grew from 4,000 annual visitors to 78,000 during her tenure. At the Driehaus Museum, she implemented a unique visitor-centered model, developed distinctive exhibitions with companion publications and expanded public programs to include lecture series, symposia, concerts, social programs and living history tours.
"My background is in museum education," said Dubé-Scherr, "so my whole career has really been anchored in how museums connect people with art objects – or with historic houses – and how to create relevant experiences that resonate. Historic houses and their collections help people understand a period of time and how people were living, both owners and staff. Connecting the past with the present in meaningful, authentic ways is becoming increasingly important in our 21st century world. It is an honor and a privilege to join the Preservation Society to help advance and deepen the impact of the Newport Mansions, with its unparalleled collection of historic house museums and one million annual admissions."
"Lise’s experiences fit perfectly with the direction the Preservation Society is going," said CEO and Executive Director Trudy Coxe. "Under her leadership and with our new exhibition space in Rosecliff and our new Fellows program, we have the capacity now to become a renowned center of scholarship and programming."
Exploring the Gentlemen's Farms of Aquidneck Island
by Abigail Stewart, Education and Interpretive Programs Specialist
Gentlemen’s Farms of Aquidneck Island is now open on the second floor of the Brayton House at Green Animals Topiary Garden. Focused on the northern part of Aquidneck Island, the exhibition features gentlemen’s farms, or retreats, which unlike working farms, are not the owner’s principal occupation. Green Animals, the summer retreat of the Brayton family of Fall River, Massachusetts, is part of this tradition that dates back to before the Revolutionary War. While the exhibition goes into a few farms in depth, it also explores the connections between these rural properties and the industrial and commercial centers of Newport, Providence, Fall River, and New Bedford.
Following European models, the gentlemen's farms of Aquidneck Island emulated the rural country seats of the nobility. Gentlemen farmers of the 18th and 19th centuries were establishing themselves as a sort of landholding gentry on the island. In the English landscape tradition
of naturally aesthetic planting, the farms on Aquidneck Island had pleasure gardens, follies, and pavilions, and their manor houses had libraries containing books on classical literature, science, and agriculture.
Green Animals, so named by Miss Alice Brayton, the house’s last private owner, kept the gentlemen’s farm tradition alive well into the 20th century. She used her country seat to connect Newport’s elite summer colony. Today, Green Animals continues with Miss Brayton’s intentions. The house, open seasonally, is the perfect setting in which to tell this important part of Aquidneck Island’s history. Along with the vegetable and ornamen- tal gardens, Green Animals is also home to the Edible Schoolyard at Green Animals, a program providing educators from Aquidneck Island a space for eco-literacy and outdoor education in a variety of topics, hopefully inspiring farmers of the future.
Gentlemen’s Farms of Aquidneck Island adds another layer to Green Animals’ history and allows our guests to see the important connections between Newport and its neighbors.
14 Summer 2017

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