Thank you for your interest in the Preservation Society's residential fellowship program.
To Apply & Notification Dates
Of Important Note: Successful candidates will demonstrate a willingness to build community partnerships, as well as locate, identify, and collate primary resources. Through collaboration and guidance from staff, these research projects will result in new information the Preservation Society can use to improve its offerings of tours, exhibitions, and publicly shared information.
Social History Fellowship: The Many Lives of Kingscote
In support of a reinterpretation plan for Newport’s landmark Gothic Revival cottage Kingscote (1839), the 2023-2024 Social History Fellow will perform archival and object-based research to discover untold stories about the business and personal lives of the King family, who occupied the home for over a century. China Trade merchant William Henry King purchased the property in 1864, and it was subsequently remodeled and enlarged by his nephew, David King Jr., after 1876. Central to this project is the inspection and interpretation of previously unexamined primary source material relating to the King family including hundreds of late nineteenth-century albumen photographs contained in family travel albums, which document trips throughout, Europe, and Asia; William Henry King’s account book recording his trading practices in China, personal correspondence, probate inventories, and documentation of the household domestic staff circa 1880. This fellowship will enrich our understanding of Kingscote and the family and social histories associated with it. The Fellow will benefit from the Preservation Society’s ongoing partnership with Salve Regina University’s Cultural and Historic Preservation Department.
To be eligible for the 2023-2024 Social History Fellowship, a M.A. degree is required in art history, American history, social history, anthropology, historic preservation or other related fields.
Curatorial Fellowship: Newport & China
The fine art, decorative art, and archival collections of The Preservation Society of Newport County are vast and varied, including a remarkable number of objects imported from China or influenced by Chinese artisanship. They reflect the deep connections between the China Trade and Newport families like the Wetmores of Chateau-sur-Mer (1852) and the Kings of Kingscote (1839), as well as Newporters’ broader fascination with Chinese culture, from the eighteenth century to World War I. While these narratives have been shared as part of the Preservation Society’s interpretation, there is a desire to expand and deepen these important stories. An upcoming exhibition in the second-floor galleries at historic Rosecliff (1902) will focus on artistic, economic, and social exchanges between China and Newport from the colonial period through the Gilded Age. In preparation for the exhibition, the Preservation Society seeks a Research Fellow to examine its Chinese and Chinoiserie collections from across our historic properties. The Fellow will identify and research key objects in the collections, including paintings, photographs, ceramics, textiles, furniture, ephemera, and lacquerwork — of which a comprehensive survey was completed in 2021-2022.The collective research result will also aid in improving the interpreted experience at various Preservation Society properties by means of tours and programming.
The Fellow also will assist with targeted research on topicssuch as theChina Trade; the Boxer Rebellion in the American imagination; the fast-growing Chinese-American community of late nineteenth-century Newport; the travels of American architects Richard Howland Hunt and Joseph Howland Hunt to China in 1912/13 in advance of the construction of the Chinese Tea House (1914) at Marble House; and the influence of Chinese women on the American Woman Suffrage Movement, particularly suffragist Alva Vanderbilt Belmont of Marble House.
To be eligible for the 2023-2024 Newport & China Curatorial Fellowship, an MA or PhD degree is required in art history, American history, East Asian Studies, or related fields, and Chinese language proficiency is preferred.
Landscape History Fellowship: Estate Gardens
Newport, Rhode Island, located at the southern tip of Aquidneck Island, is surrounded by the Atlantic waters of Narragansett Bay. The mild maritime climate along with loamy, upland soils make for prime agricultural land which has been prized for centuries. When the first English colonists arrived in Newport in the seventeenth century, they found land cultivated by the Native peoples for crops of maize, squash, and beans. During the Colonial era, Newport land was redeveloped using European models: farms, orchards, grazing meadows, nurseries, and pleasure gardens gave rise to Newport’s reputation as the “Eden of America.” By the mid-19th century, Newport was primed to blossom into the “Queen of Summer Resorts.” As a burgeoning and fashionable summer colony, the Colonial-era landscape was reconfigured by subdivision and the construction of showplace cottages unsurpassed in their architecture, interiors and gardens. A windswept and rugged coastal landscape became blanketed by a dense arboretum that enveloped boulevards, velvet lawns and refined gardens. This transformation was driven by the concentration of immense wealth, the coming of age of landscape architecture as a design discipline, newly available exotic nursery stock and emerging technologies in greenhouse design and landscape equipment.
With institutional efforts already underway to present our landscapes as integral to an understanding of life in Newport during the Gilded Age, The Preservation Society’s 2022-2023 Landscape History Fellowship will examine the estate landscapes, designs, and maintenance of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with specific focus on stories that relate to or support Preservation Society sites. The Fellow will research the original and evolving horticultural displays, along with the people who designed, supported, and maintained these impressive features that were created for peak enjoyment during a mere six weeks of the year due to the social season, while the job of an estate gardener or gardeners would be a year-round obligation. Remnants of these designs, support structures and stories are quickly disappearing, and this fellowship will be critical in capturing data and narratives before they are lost forever.
To be eligible for the 2023-2024 Landscape History Fellowship, a M.A. degree is required in Landscape Architecture, Landscape Design, Urban Planning, Architectural History, Horticulture or relevant field.
To Apply & Notification Dates
Step 1: Prepare Materials
Complete the application form, click here.
Please provide an abstract (250-500 words) describing your interest in the project, qualifications to undertake the proposed scope of research, and ability to realize deliverables. We welcome preliminary ideas and resources you would use to approach the chosen subject. Please keep in mind that there may be restrictions to visiting archival collections considering the ongoing pandemic.
Please provide a copy of your current curriculum vitae.
Step 2: Submit Materials
Application: Email your complete application, including application form, essay, and vitae, to fellowships@NewportMansions.org. Please put your name in the subject line.
You may submit your materials directly via the online application form, or download a PDF of the application form here and email it along with your supplemental materials to the address above.
Application deadline is rolling from September 15, 2022. Applicants selected for further consideration will be notified no later than November 15, 2022. Selected applicants will be required to provide two professional references. All Fellowship offers are contingent on the successful completion of a background check which will be conducted with the authorization of the Applicant immediately following acceptance of the Fellowship.