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Director of Preservation

Newport Restoration Foundation in Newport, Rhode Island is looking for an experienced and highly-skilled historic preservation practitioner to serve as its next Director of Preservation. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Preservation oversees the preservation, maintenance, and protection of NRF’s historic properties and directly supervises the organization’s Operations Coordinator and Crew Foreman.

NRF was established in 1968 by preservationist, philanthropist, and collector Doris Duke, who devoted her resources to the acquisition and restoration of Colonial-era buildings in Newport. NRF owns 78 historic properties, including 70 buildings that are rented as residences. This portfolio represents one of the largest collections of period architecture owned by a single organization anywhere in the United States. The impact of NRF’s preservation work has been transformative for the city of Newport, with its earliest neighborhoods and streetscapes revitalized, public spaces created and enhanced, and the city’s tax base and economy strengthened.

The Director of Preservation oversees the preservation and protection of NRF’s historic properties. S/he will serve as the leader in the effort to ensure the long-term stewardship of NRF’s collection of houses. Of particular importance currently are conservation-level projects involving some of NRF’s most noteworthy properties, including Rough Point, the Whitehorne House Museum, Vernon House, and the Christopher Townsend House (74 Bridge Street), but the Director of Preservation provides guidance as well to NRF’s ten-person crew on the more routine work performed on our rental houses. In addition, the Director of Preservation serves on an ongoing basis as an advocate and spokesperson with regard to all preservation-related issues of interest to NRF.

In 2016, NRF organized and hosted Keeping History Above Water, one of the first national conferences addressing the threat to historic properties posed by climate change. Although the annual conference continues to be an important component of our work – the 2019 conference will take place in St. Augustine, FL – NRF is increasingly focusing its attention on the need to prepare for the impact of sea-level rise in Newport. NRF has more than 25 historic houses in the highly-vulnerable Point neighborhood alone. The Director of Preservation will play a critical role in helping NRF “design” and implement its response to this threat, in concert with stakeholders in the community and nationwide.

Minimum Qualifications:                                                                                                                  

  • Undergraduate and/or graduate degree in Architecture, Architectural Engineering, Historic Preservation, or related field.
  • A minimum of five (5) years of professional experience in the field of historic preservation
  • Experience working with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties
  • Demonstrated knowledge of, and experience in, a wide range of historic preservation practices and approaches, construction technology, historic materials and design, and architectural research and documentation
  • Demonstrated interest in understanding the threat posed to historic properties and neighborhoods by climate change/sea level rise and the efforts moving forward to protect historic resources
  • Outstanding interpersonal, analytical, and communications skills
  • Ability to develop, track and maintain budgets and the flexibility to adjust budgets, as needed, to meet the overall financial goals of the organization
  • Ability to exercise good judgment with a strong attention to detail
  • Ability to work independently and in team settings
  • Willingness to work evenings and weekends, as required
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office
  • Ability to climb stairs and lift weights up to twenty-five pounds and climb and work from a ladder up to fifteen feet off the ground
  • A valid U.S. driver’s license

Preferred Additional Qualifications:

  • Education and/or experience in the practice of adapting historic buildings to make them more sustainable generally and more resilient particularly to the threat of sea level rise
  • Supervisory and/or management experience
  • Project management experience
  • Working knowledge of the process for completion of Historic Structures Reports, plans, specifications, and other contract documents
  • Experience in fostering effective working relationships with members of the community, local and state government, and/or other organizations
  • An appreciation for the nature of nonprofit work and the demands in general of working for a nonprofit organization

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, résumé and salary requirements to or to Human Resources, 51 Touro Street, Newport, RI 02840.  Applications accepted until Monday, February 4 2019.  EOE.

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