Newportal is a collaborative project of cultural institutions in Newport County, Rhode Island with Newport County-based collections. Its mission is to provide a free online collections database that documents and promotes Newport’s vibrant cultural heritage. Newportal encourages scholarship and discovery by facilitating access to collections across institutional boundaries.
Newportal strives to present a holistic story of Newport County’s culture and history by uniting intellectual access to collections regardless of custody. Newportal fosters collaboration across institutional boundaries by sharing knowledge, experience, skills, and encouraging greater communication within the community. The aim is to engage the broadest possible audience, including: artists, scholars, students, armchair cultural tourists, genealogists, historians, museum and library professionals, Newport enthusiasts, and the general public.
Digitization of our collections for sharing on Newportal was made possible with generous support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Gerry Charitable Trust, and Ala and Ralph Isham.
Browse Newportal by clicking on the image below.
State of the Preservation Society's Collections
The Preservation Society of Newport County is a collection of historic houses (1748-1902), which together with their gardens, interiors, and period furnishings constitute a unique cultural museum spanning the Colonial period through the Gilded Age. The over 55,000 documented decorative and fine arts in the Preservation Society's house museums include: paintings, sculpture, furniture, ceramics and glass, gilded objects, silver and base metal objects, books, prints, lithographs, engravings, photographs, and textiles, including tapestries, rugs, wall coverings, window hangings and costumes.
Read the current State of the Collections Report.
Fine and Decorative Arts
Newport’s grand houses display rich collections of fine and decorative art, revealing three centuries of American cultural evolution. Throughout the eleven properties owned and operated by the Preservation Society of Newport County a vast array of fine and decorative art, such as Colonial American furniture, Chinese porcelains, and European paintings, are displayed in period settings. The collections include original objects and items collected by the late owners of the houses.
Learn more about the Preservation Society's collection of fine and decorative arts
The Preservation Society’s Archival Collection consists of documents, photographs, ledgers, and inventories detailing the social and architectural history of Newport. Dating primarily from the early 19th century on, these historical records are an invaluable resource for staff, scholars and researchers. These materials are important resources that provide a more comprehensive understanding of the people, houses and culture of Newport.
Textile and Fashion Arts
The Preservation Society’s diverse costume and fashion arts collection is made up of over 7000 objects. From ball gowns and bathing costumes to hats, shoes, fans, and parasols, these very personal objects provide a unique window onto another age, lending insight into what life was like for many of the occupants of Newport grand summer cottages during the Gilded Age and beyond. While the collection has a concentration of objects from the 1880s through the 1920s, representative pieces trace the history of dress and fashion in Newport from the early nineteenth century through the present day.
See several online exhibitions organized by the Preservation Society.