NRF promotes and invests in the architectural heritage of the Newport community, the traditional building trades, and Doris Duke’s fine and decorative arts collections, for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of all.
As a leader in the preservation of early American architecture, NRF supports research and education in areas directly related to its collections and issues of critical concern to the field of historic preservation.
Tour Doris Duke’s art-filled mansion and enjoy panoramic ocean views from the extensive grounds, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Open late March to November.
Experience the only museum in the world specializing in 18th-century Newport furniture and related decorative arts. Open late May to October.
Explore 40 acres of open space, a tribute to the agrarian heritage of Aquidneck Island. The site is open daily from dawn to dusk for public enjoyment.
Newport Restoration Foundation holds one of the largest collections of period architecture owned by a single organization anywhere in the United States.
Celebrate excellence in historic preservation efforts within the City of Newport, Rhode Island.
Live amidst history by renting one of our many historic properties.
Help us to continue a lived-in legacy by becoming a Restoration Partner today.
Classification: Full-time (Non-exempt)
Reports to: Paint Supervisor
Job Summary: The Newport Restoration Foundation is seeking an experienced, full-time painter to assist with the preparation and painting of the organization’s unique collection of historic properties. This position will be part of a five-person Paint Crew, which works in tandem with the Carpentry Crew and, collectively, are an integral component of the organization’s Preservation Department. NRF hopes to bring on a painter not only with substantial expertise in the trade, but also strong personnel and project management abilities.
Salary Range:$47,840-$54,080 annually, $23.00-$26.00 per hour (commensurate with experience), medical, dental, vision, life and disability insurance, health savings account, 401(k) contribution (not a match), 15 vacation days, 10 sick days, and a generous amount of holidays.
• Wash, scrape, sand, and smooth interior and exterior surfaces prior to painting, varnishing, or applying other related materials.
• Fill cracks, holes, and joints with caulk, putty, or other fillers using caulking guns or putty knives.
• Remove fixtures such as lamps and electrical switch covers prior to painting.
• Cover surfaces with drop cloths to protect them during the painting process.
• Operate compressors, spray equipment, and other small power equipment.
• Erect various types of scaffolding, staging and ladders to reach surfaces of work area.
• Apply paints, stains, surface preparatory materials and undercoating materials to a variety of surfaces and according to Safety Data Sheets ensuring compliance with hazardous materials guidelines.
• Clean equipment as well as paint mixing/storage area and work areas.
• Assist the Carpentry and Systems’ Crews as necessary and directed by Paint Supervisor or Crew Foreman.
• Ten or more years of experience at a level equivalent to journeyman painter or similar work experience.
• Graduation from high school.
• Climb stairs and work from elevated surfaces including ladders, staging and roofs.
• Lift a maximum weight of 50 lbs. alone or larger weights in concert with others.
• Make fast, simple, repeated movements of fingers, hands and wrists.
• Keep hand and arm steady while moving arm or holding arm and hand in one position.
• Regularly bend, stretch and kneel.
• Integrate and work effectively as a member of the team.
• Manage time both in quality job performance and in using paid time off.
• Interact professionally with tenants and outside contacts.
• Ability to follow supervisor’s instructions and also work independently.
• Possess reliable transportation for traveling to and from job sites.
• 5+ years of project management experience
• 5+ years of personnel management experience
• Lead-based paint and RRP experience
• General property maintenance and light carpentry skills
• Experience working with historic properties and/or in museums
The position is 40 hours a week year round; Monday thru Friday 8:00 am – 4:30 pm. EOE.
To apply please send résumé to email@example.com. The position remains open until filled.
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My internship project to catalog NRF’s property paint colors and formulas was born out of necessity. Over the years, the NRF crew had amassed an astounding depth of knowledge about the organization’s paints, but this knowledge had never been formally documented. The focus of my internship stemmed from the desire to capture this information before it was lost to time. I was given the task of documenting 20 different exterior paints for more than 70 properties.
This large undertaking began with the very important question, “Where do we begin?” Our answer was to start small by finding the colors at NRF’s two major paint suppliers, Humphrey’s Paint Center in Middletown and Adler’s Hardware in Providence. I was greeted at Humphrey’s Paint with a metal box of nearly 400 index cards, all of which held a piece of NRF’s paint color history. Our process began with photographing each index card, whether the information was for an exterior or interior color, and thus the archival and research process began. These index cards became the basis of the project and have answered many of the questions I set out to answer. The goal of accessing these index cards was to document the information on paint formulas and names and make them available for the paint crew to answer questions on a property’s exterior paint color through NRF’s in-house property management tool.
When documenting the paints, I added categories to differentiate the three exterior paint colors for each property and the date the paint was last updated. I repeated this process with the paint information from NRF’s other paint supplier, Adler’s. Throughout this part of the project, I conducted several interviews with the paint crew to learn more about the history of the paint colors, their experiences working with Doris Duke, and the importance of their roles in the preservation of NRF’s historic properties. This project would have no foundation without the experiences of NRF’s paint crew. I learned so much about how the colors came to be, what colors were used throughout NRF’s existence, and the events and decisions that led to the colors we see at NRF properties today.
In the next phase of the project, I am repeating the process to document the interior colors of the properties. I am also interviewing retired members of the paint crew to learn more about their experiences with NRF’s paint colors. The paint collection can now be viewed on NRF’s website, as well as additional information on the colors used at each property. If you see the crew working around town, ask them about the paint colors and explore the information we’ve uncovered so far.
By Elizabeth Baza, Salve Regina University Intern
The Newport Restoration Foundation and the City of Newport are seeking qualified consultants or architectural firms to develop graphics for the City’s Design Guidelines for Elevating Historic Buildings. Specifically, the consultant will produce Appendix A, a set of graphics to include photos, drawings, and/or architectural renderings of appropriate design concepts. The graphics may include, but are not limited to, delineating new and original details in building adaptations, foundation design within a historic context, and streetscape scale and building patterns. The ideal consultant is a preservation or planning professional with a background in architecture, or an architectural firm with a preservation focus.
Please review the RFP here to learn more about the project, consultant selection, and timeline.
The Newport community has historically been affected by significant flooding in low-lying areas in part due to its proximity to Narragansett Bay and some neighborhoods’ development upon filled-in marsh lands. However, flooding, hurricanes, and high tides in these coastal neighborhoods are only intensifying as a result of climate change. Many of these neighborhoods are included within the Newport Historic District and represent a significant collection of 18th- and 19th-century buildings, including National Historic Landmarks.
In 2016, NRF hosted the first Keeping History Above Water™ Conference to specifically discuss climate change and building adaptation in Newport’s historic coastal neighborhoods. Case studies from the conference informed strategies for building adaptation and resiliency in historic communities threatened by sea level rise. Since then, Newport’s Historic District Commission has concluded that the best policy for long-term preservation in these neighborhoods is to support voluntarily elevating structures.
In January 2020, the Newport Historic District Commission adopted the Design Guidelines for Elevating Historic Buildings. The guidelines apply towards all contributing and non-contributing buildings within the Newport Historic District—a collection of nearly 400 properties. The guidelines include four considerations to guide commission and applicant thinking in reviewing elevation projects for historic buildings:
Streetscapes and Context Consideration
Site Design Consideration
Foundation Design Consideration
Architecture and Preservation
The guidelines also include a definition section and three appendices:
Appendix A: Graphical Support to Building Elevation Design Concepts
Appendix B: Additional Flood Mitigation Options for the Homeowner
Appendix C: Landscape Best-Practices and Recommendations Related to Flood Mitigation and Building Elevation
When the guidelines were adopted, the Commission intended for the creation of appendices at a later date. Both NRF and the City felt graphic support for Appendix A was critical for applicants and commissioners to visualize proposed adaptations alongside the written guidelines. Visualizations will be an important tool for historic homeowners in Newport as well as serve as a model for other historic communities looking to articulate adaptation strategies.
The deadline for submission of proposals is August 19 by 5 p.m. A mandatory pre-proposal conference will be held for all interested applicants on August 5 at 10 a.m. via Zoom. Proposals must be submitted electronically as a single PDF document.
All questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for following along throughout Preservation Month as we shared updates on our preservation projects and the people who make them possible. One of our largest undertakings is the preservation of the William Vernon House. In this final video in our Behind the Walls series, we take a look back at all we have learned from the Historic Structure Report, and what remains ahead for this important part of Newport’s history.
With the support of the community and friends like you, we are able to continue our mission to preserve and protect Newport’s architectural heritage. Thank you again for caring about historic preservation.
There’s still time left to give to NRF this Preservation Month! Please consider making a gift today to support our preservation efforts. Make a one-time gift, or have greater impact by joining Restoration Partners, our monthly giving program. Thank you for protecting historic resources in our community!
Historic homes require regular maintenance, and Rough Point Museum is no exception. Recent visitors will have seen exterior scaffolding and preservation contractors working diligently. The museum’s roof system is currently undergoing restoration to address water infiltration. With increases in storms and precipitation due to climate change, it’s more important than ever to protect this historic structure and plan for its future. NRF’s Director of Preservation, Alyssa Lozupone, describes the meticulous restoration process in our latest video.
You can help us maintain Rough Point Museum and the other historic homes in our collection by becoming a Restoration Partner. To learn more about our monthly giving program, click here.
Over the past year, NRF has explored ways in which we can have an impact in promoting the historic trades as a career path. Our talented Preservation Crew, several who have worked for NRF over 30 years, are an integral part of our organization and care for over 70 historic properties in and around Newport. Tradespeople (carpenters, masons, metal workers, etc.) play a critical role in ensuring historic properties are carefully and properly preserved. Unfortunately, the current generation of skilled craftspeople are aging out of the field. Fifty-five percent of all properties in Newport are considered historic, and are always in need of repair. Without trained tradespeople, historic properties owned by NRF and other organizations cannot be maintained.
The mission of the Historic Trades Initiative is to perpetuate and diversify the historic trades by creating strong connections with our community and sharing our expertise. The Initiative was developed through conversations with other preservation organizations, workforce training companies, and the local contractor community. Its focus is to raise awareness and offer training opportunities to create a robust workforce of people who specialize in the preservation trades. Working with national organizations including the National Park Service and Campaign for Historic Trades, as well as local contractors, NRF will launch several programs in 2022.
We look forward to sharing updates as these programs get underway. For people with basic carpentry skills who are interested in learning more about historic trades, we invite you to consider applying for our 12-week paid summer internship. More details and application information are available here.
By Kris Turgeon, Trades Initiative Manager, Newport Restoration Foundation
Keeping programming at Prescott Farm free. Providing in-person and virtual learning opportunities. Preserving important historic buildings along the streetscapes of Newport.
These are just a few of the activities that our dedicated Restoration Partners support with their ongoing, monthly gifts. By joining Restoration Partners, your monthly contribution is immediately directed toward NRF’s ongoing work to preserve Newport’s architectural and cultural heritage.
Will you help us meet our goal of welcoming 20 new monthly donors?
In honor of Preservation Month this May, we invite you to become part of this community of individuals who care deeply about protecting historic resources in Newport.
There are many advantages to joining the program. Your monthly gift is fully tax-deductible and automatically charged to your credit card or bank account. Partners receive periodic benefits and invitations to private events. We send a year-end tax statement outlining your cumulative giving.
Please visit our website at www.newportrestoration.org/donate to learn more about the program and to make your gift. Thank you for supporting NRF and for caring about preservation in Newport.
The annual Doris Duke Historic Preservation Awards, a joint program of the Newport Restoration Foundation and the City of Newport, encourages excellence in historic preservation by recognizing exemplary preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation projects as well as education and advocacy initiatives that have taken place throughout Aquidneck Island. This year’s deadline for nominations is June 1, 2022.
Newport Restoration Foundation is calling upon the local community to nominate projects completed within the last three years that have truly enriched and added value to the character of the community through preservation. The winners will be acknowledged at an awards event on Friday, September 9, 2022 (event details to be announced). Please see below for award criteria and links to the nomination guidelines.
Further information about the nomination process, including a listing of the information that must be provided in conjunction with a nomination, can be found at newportrestoration.org/DDPA or by emailing Alyssa Lozupone, NRF’s Director of Preservation, at email@example.com.
May is Preservation Month. This year’s theme of “People Saving Places” gives us the opportunity to recognize the team who maintain one of the largest collections of period architecture owned by any single organization in the United States. The painting, carpentry, and systems teams have more than 180 years combined of experience and keep the 18th and early 19th century buildings intact for our tenant stewards. With such an extensive collection of historic properties, it’s no easy task. Some of our crew have been a part of NRF for decades, and some members have recently joined the organization to continue the legacy of preservation. This month, we look forward to introducing you to members of our team and giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the maintenance of these historic structures. If you see them working around town, be sure to say hello!
You can help us maintain these historic places by becoming a Restoration Partner. As a Restoration Partner, your monthly contribution is immediately directed toward NRF’s ongoing work. Your monthly gift is fully tax-deductible and automatically charged to your credit card or bank account.
Please visit newportrestoration.org/donate to learn more about the program and to make your gift. Thank you for supporting NRF and preservation in Newport!
By Peter Raposa, Mill Supervisor at Newport Restoration Foundation
The Samuel Whitehorne House (1811), located at 416 Thames Street in Newport, RI, was in dire need of repair when Doris Duke acquired the building in 1970. A story emerged from the massive efforts of that restoration project, a legend of sorts, which was shared with me some 30 years ago. The legend says there are three window sashes original to the house – the round sash on the third floor and the six foot tall arched sash on the second floor, located on the west side of the building (front façade), and the arched window in the stairwell landing on the east side of the building (rear façade). Through the decades, these sashes have been removed to be worked on individually, but never all at the same time since 1970. I recently had the opportunity to work on all three sashes thanks to a generous grant the NRF received.
The approach I took to preserve them was to take one out at a time, repair it, put it back and take the next one, etc. To start, I removed the arched window from the east side. The first thing I noticed was that it was in very good shape and needed minor repairs, such as replacing some loose glazing, sanding the exterior and interior sides, applying some primer and two coats of paint on each side. There was no peeling of paint to speak of so there was no heavy scraping involved. Piece of cake – the sash was completed and reinstalled.
I then removed the six-foot arched sash from the west side, located on the second floor. Compared to the first sash, this one was in rough shape, and the 34″ panel frame work that the sash sits on was rotted beyond repair. A new one had to be made.
The last time this house was painted was back in 2005 – 16 years ago. When I brought the sash back to the mill, I really had the opportunity to take a closer look at it. Most of the glazing was missing, except for some of the areas around the arch. Most of the glass was just floating, and the only thing holding the glass in place were the points. All the lites had to be removed and labeled so each one would go back in exactly the same opening and in the same orientation. The photo below shows how I did this. The interior and exterior paint was flaking off due to the heat from the afternoon sun beating down on it for so many years. I had no choice but to remove the paint on both sides to the bare wood. This did not take long because the condition of the paint was so poor.
When scraping the paint on the curved muntins on the interior side, I discovered something amazing. I noticed how the craftsman achieved the curved shape of the muntins – something that has been covered by layers of paint for quite some time, and remained hidden for possibly decades. The muntins had relief cuts cut three quarters of the way through and spaced 1/2″ apart from each other, all cut with a very thin blade from a hand saw. This method would allow a straight piece of wood to be manipulated into a curve (see photo below). It made me think. Could this sash be original? Further probing needed to happen. Since there were multiple curves on this sash, I needed to confirm how many other curves were made in this manner. To my surprise, I found that they were all crafted in the same way.
At this point, I started to ask a looming question about the first arched sash that I just completed. Since I did not scrape any paint from the interior side, were the curved muntins crafted with relief cuts? If so, this could establish a common timeline for them and if not, expose a different one.
I completed the repair work of that tall sash and installed it back in its home. I was eager to start the last sash – the round one on the third floor. Once getting it back to the shop, the very first thing I did was to remove the paint to expose how the craftsman made the curved muntins. I was hoping to discover relief cuts to give credence to the legend, but what I had actually discovered was that they did not match. Not one curved muntin was made in the same fashion as the other one.
It was very disappointing to confirm this. That very first arched sash from the east side – the one that I did not scrape any paint off – was at the forefront of my mind. I needed to go back and remove the sash even though it was completely done, bring it back to the shop, and confirm whether or not it is of the same timeline. When I had it back at the shop, I removed a small section of paint on just the inside portion of the curved muntins. This is where I would find the relief cuts. To rule out the possibility that I unveiled a repair made from a solid piece of wood, I removed a small section of paint on all the curved muntins, but found that not one muntin had relief cuts.
So it was determined that the two sashes without relief cuts were made from a different time period, much later, and machine made. They were one solid piece compared to three individual pieces – the bead portion with relief cuts, the middle section that was cut to the curve, and then the thin vertical back piece, where the glazing would rest against, that was bent and nailed to follow the curve (see photo below).
Before I could give my final evaluation of whether or not the six-foot arched window was original, I needed more proof to lead me to believe it was indeed original – and I found it.
I went back to the museum to look more closely at the interior trim and it was staring at me all the while. The interior trim around the arched openings were obviously curved as well and I needed to see how it was made. We know with certainty through old photo documentation that the trim around those three window frames are original, as well as many other trim pieces in the house, for that matter.
You can see by the photos below that the method of creating the curve is an exact match to the way the curve of the arched sash was created, all done with relief cuts and possibly with the same saw. The house joiners in 1811 not only made and installed the interior trim pieces but also made the sashes as well. Furthermore, that tall sash had old wooden shutters on the exterior side protecting it for many decades. In many ways, that building was sustained for decades because of preservation by poverty.
Examples of original relief cuts
With of all the evidence falling into place and fitting perfectly, I believe the six foot arched sash is indeed original and that a part of the legendary story is true. The other two sashes are unfortunately not original, but are still beautifully crafted and historic.
As always, it is a complete honor and privilege to have had the opportunity to dive into these historic sashes and exam them carefully. Thank you for your time reading about the sashes of the Samuel Whitehorne House Museum. The museum is open to the public seasonally, and worth your while to pay a visit, not only to see the fine furniture and artifacts, but also to see these sashes in person for they, too, are made of the highest craftsmanship and integrity.
Thank you to The 1772 Foundation, in cooperation with Preserve Rhode Island, for providing partial grant funding to support this project.