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History of Newport and the Mansions
Founded in 1639, Newport was an important port city, a center of the slave trade, a fashionable resort and the summer home of the Gilded Age rich.
What was the Gilded Age?
The Gilded Age was a period of unprecedented change in America. Fortunes were spent on luxuries such as the lavish "summer cottages" of Newport.
Deep Dive into the Show
Learn about the people, places and events depicted in Julian Fellowes' popular historical drama series.
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Become a Member
We invite you to become a member of the Preservation Society today. In addition to joining an active community of preservation supporters and advocates, members are offered unlimited access to all open houses.
Our mission is to protect, preserve, and present the best of Newport County's architectural heritage. Learn more about us and our work.
Wind Farm Federal Appeal: FAQs
The Preservation Society of Newport County is appealing federal agency approval of two massive wind farms off the Rhode Island coast.
Personal Photography on the Grounds
Rent our museums for commercial photography & videography, TV production, and wedding photography.
Commercial Filming or Photography
Museum Rentals & Weddings
Host your wedding, rehearsal dinner, corporate event, or other celebration at our historic museums.
American architecture changed dramatically in the Gilded Age. Tall commercial buildings rose in New York and Chicago. Grand mansions were built for the wealthy, and churches took on an Old World Gothic appearance. At the residential level, changes included the use of shingles, the emergence of the Colonial Revival style, and the adoption of the bungalow style. This lecture will examine the architectural changes sweeping the country as well as the work of several architects who helped to change the appearance of America.
Richard Guy Wilson’s book Edith Wharton at Home: Life at the Mount, will be available for purchase at the reception and the author will be available for a book signing.
Event thumbnail photo credit: Chateau Sur Mer, 1851. Photograph taken by Richard Guy Wilson.
Richard Guy Wilson is Commonwealth Professor Emeritus in Architectural History at the University of Virginia. He is a frequent lecturer, television commentator and author of many articles and books on different aspects of American and modern architecture and design including “The American Renaissance” (1979), “McKim, Mead & White, Architects” (1982), “Machine Age in America” (1986), “Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village” (1993, 2009) “The Colonial Revival House” (2004), and “Edith Wharton at Home” (2012). He has taught the Victorian Society’s Newport Summer School for 40 years.
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1871-76. Photograph taken by Richard Guy Wilson.
Chateau Sur Mer, 1851. Photograph taken by Richard Guy Wilson.
Wainwright Building, 1890-91. Photograph taken by Richard Guy Wilson.
Explore the underground systems that made this great house a marvel of technology for its time.
See and hear how the other half lived. This tour will highlight the stories of some of the men and women who worked to service the social whirl of Newport during the Gilded Age.
Explore China’s deep influence on Newport from the 18th century through the Gilded Age. This exhibition brings together more than 100 extraordinary objects and illuminates how many different people of Chinese heritage, including artists, merchants, immigrant entrepreneurs and women suffragists, shaped all aspects of life in Newport.
This outdoor spectacle of holiday lights will dazzle and delight you! The 13-acre landscape of The Breakers turns into a wonderland of color and light. Includes tour of the lavish decorated rooms inside the house. Open on select evenings through the season. Includes The Breakers interior tour during the same visit.
A great Newport tradition! See The Breakers, Marble House and The Elms dressed in their festive holiday finery. It’s the most spectacular time of the year at these awe-inspiring Gilded Age mansions.
Our annual black-tie holiday event is sold out. The waitlist is at capacity and has been closed. Happy Holidays to all!
Preservation Society members, this evening is for you! Enjoy music, food, drinks and conversation amid the holiday décor in The Elms.
After a one-year sojourn to Marble House, New England’s premier flower show returns to Rosecliff with the theme of “At Home.”
Save the dates for the 19th annual festival, featuring the Vintner Dinner, Sunday Brunch and tasty yet educational seminar experiences.
Download our tour app before your visit and bring your earbuds.
Parking is free onsite at all properties except for Hunter House and The Breakers Stable & Carriage House, where street parking is available.
Answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
Explore the 11 properties under the stewardship of the Preservation Society and open as historic house museums.
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