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The Board of Trustees of the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) is announcing a transition in Board leadership.

After seven years serving on the Board of Trustees in various capacities, James H. Ross, Esq. is stepping down as Chair of the Board. His expertise in real estate and finance greatly contributed to the professional financial leadership of the institution and helped guide the organization through the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. NRF maintains the largest collection of colonial residences leased in the nation, and Ross was instrumental in helping NRF create more sustainable policies regarding this long-standing Tenant Steward program. Under his leadership, the Board approved a strategic plan for the stewardship of Rough Point and a phased-Restoring Rough Point project that will provide for the long-term care of the building, while also enabling Rough Point to become a more community-centered site by expanding access to previously inaccessible spaces in the building.  Ross’s experienced leadership contributed to significant policy and institutional strategies which have helped NRF move forward with more sustainable and efficient operations.

Amy Berkowitz, currently the Vice-Chair of the Board, will step into the Chair position. Berkowitz is a life-long Newporter and an educator who has served on numerous boards of various educational and cultural heritage non-profits such as the New York Botanical Garden, the Groton School, and the Children’s Storefront in Harlem, and she has also locally served on the Education Committee of the Preservation Society of Newport County.  She is passionate about Newport’s history and historic architecture and has been a member of the NRF Board of Trustees for over five years. “I am honored to lead the Board of Trustees, and to continue the Newport Restoration Foundation’s important work in the Newport community,” she says. “The Board is committed to following the legacy of our founder Doris Duke, who was a visionary philanthropist dedicated to the economic restoration of Newport through the preservation of the architectural and cultural heritage of the City.”

C. Hugh Hildesley, MBE, current Chair of NRF’s Collections Committee, and former Vice Chairman of Sotheby’s Americas will become the new Vice-Chair of the Board.

“We thank Jim for his stewardship and years of service on the Board of Trustees,” says Frankie Vagnone, President of NRF and Director of Rough Point. “Amy Berkowitz’s demonstrated leadership as Chair of the Collections Committee and as Vice-Chair of the Board will lead NRF into this next chapter of our ongoing transformation into a more sustainable, community-centered organization.”

Title:  Painter (Seasonal) April to December 2024

Monday thru Friday 8:00 am – 4:30


Classification: Full-time (Non-exempt)


Reports to: Preservation Crew Supervisor


Job Summary: The Newport Restoration Foundation is seeking a Seasonal Painter to assist with the preparation and painting of the organization’s unique collection of historic properties, primarily in downtown Newport. This position will be part of a four-person Paint Crew.


Salary Range: $20.00 per hour (40 hours per week)

401(k) contribution (not a match),

Sick Leave in accordance with RI Sick and Safety Leave Act

Free on-site parking


Specific Responsibilities:

  • 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 during 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, paint mixing/storage area and work area.
  • Keep a clean safe work environment.



  • Graduation from high school and one year of experience at a level equivalent to journeyman painter or similar work experience.
  • 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.


To apply please send résumé to by April 19th, 2024. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.


The Department of Defense and the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) are proud to co-host the Keeping History Above Water® (KHAW): Pacific Workshop in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi on June 13th, 2024, at the Doubletree Alana Waikiki.

KHAW: Pacific is a free, registration-required workshop. Registration will open April 15th. Keeping History Above Water® (KHAW) was founded in 2016 by NRF to foster a global conversation focused on the increasing and varied risks posed by sea-level rise to historic coastal communities. KHAW programs, conferences, and workshops focus on protecting historic buildings, landscapes, and neighborhoods from the increasing threat of inundation. The KHAW: Pacific Workshop will serve as a forum for collaboration to proactively identify climate change solutions for the preservation of Pacific Island cultural heritage. Coastal inundation— which refers to sea level rise, storm surge, abnormally high tides, and persistent onshore winds and waves— is particularly detrimental to the physical and cultural heritage of Pacific Islanders and residents.

The inclusivity of KHAW’s community-focused engagements will develop and strengthen relationships among communities, partners, and experts in relevant fields. Community members, cultural practitioners, preservationists, public historians, museum professionals, archaeologists, planners, floodplain managers, engineers, architects, landscape architects, artists, conservationists, environmental justice advocates, government officials, property owners, resilience officers, and other stakeholders are invited to submit session proposals. All sessions must be directly related to the impacts of coastal inundation on cultural heritage, including built resources, archaeological sites, landscapes, traditional cultural properties, and the intangible heritage of the Pacific.

Presentation proposals should be submitted as Word documents to by 5 p.m. on April 10th, 2024. Sessions will be selected by mid-April 2024.

KHAW is an initiative of NRF focused on addressing climate change’s effects on historic communities worldwide. Since 2016, NRF has sponsored eleven KHAW conferences in communities such as Palo Alto, Charleston, and Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Learn more at

Title:                                  Landscape Supervisor

Classification:           Full-time (Non-exempt)

Reports to:                    Director of Facilities

Job Summary:           The Newport Restoration Foundation is seeking a Landscape Supervisor. The Landscape Supervisor is both a managerial and hands-on position.

The Supervisor is responsible for overseeing as well as participating in providing year-round maintenance of the gardens and grounds and of Rough Point Museum and other NRF properties. This position supervises three year-round employees, and one part-time seasonal employee.


Salary Range:            $52,100-$55,120 annually ($25.00-$26.50 per hour)

Full-time / year round work

100% employer paid medical, dental vision life, insurance,

Employer contribution to health savings account,

100% employer paid life, Long-Term Disability and AD& D insurance.

401(k) contribution (not a match)

15 vacation days, 10 sick days, holidays

Professional development assistance.

Free onsite parking.


Specific Responsibilities:                                               

Supervise and participate in:

  • Lawn mowing and maintenance.
  • Spring and fall leaf clean-up.
  • Tree work including pruning, removal and chipping.
  • Hedge trimming from the ground or ladder.
  • Snow removal including plowing.
  • Edging and mulching, tree and shrub planting.
  • Hardscape repairs and installation
  • General cleaning of shop and facilities.
  • Equipment and vehicle maintenance and repair.
  • Winterizing work at Rough Point as necessary.
  • Water supply and irrigation maintenance and repair.
  • Coordinate with the Director to ensure historical landscape accuracy.
  • Supervise and manage the grounds and gardening staff in an effective manner.
  • Occasionally assist museum staff with educational projects and participate in one to three public programs each season.
  • Help organize annual plant sale.
  • Collaborate with NRF’s Preservation Department on the following at the Preservation Properties:
    • Identifying and planning for landscape and hardscaping maintenance needs.
    • Carrying out, supervising, and/or subcontracting landscape and hardscaping maintenance.
    • Reviewing tenant requests for landscape maintenance and changes.
    • Maintaining landscapes at vacant properties.
    • Assisting with landscaping at duplexes.
  • Adhere to all company safety practices, procedures and policies.
  • Other projects as requested by the President.



  • Minimum five years of landscaping experience
  • Minimum three years supervisory experience with strong leadership ability.
  • Experience with public gardens, parks, and/or museum properties a plus.
  • Possess a strong working knowledge of plant material.
  • Requires excellent written and verbal communication as well as problem-solving and negotiating skills.
  • A successful track record in setting priorities; keen analytic, organization and problem-solving skills which support and enable sound decision making.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, Word, and Excel preferred.
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation
  • Fundamental budgeting skills.
  • Personal qualities of integrity, credibility and dedication.
  • Eager and willing to work as part of a team.

All employees are required to comply with NRF COVID-19 policies.

Interested candidates should submit a résumé to Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. EOE.

View our Q&A fact sheet here

In response to a quickly transforming real estate market, the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) has launched a multi-phase energy efficiency project to collect data to improve the sustainability of historic residential buildings. NRF is investigating non-intrusive interventions that are sensitive to historic fabric while also improving energy efficiency in historic structures. The first project site will be 38 Green Street, a c.1730 Newport cottage-style house in the Newport Historic Hill District. The project will be both a case study of the energy efficiency of historic structures and a prototype for solutions that will be beneficial for other homeowners seeking ways to reduce energy consumption and increase livability in their own historic houses.

Frankie Vagnone, President of the Newport Restoration Foundation stated, “One of the fundamental preservation goals of NRF has always been livability. Our founder, Doris Duke, did not simply want perfectly restored, doll house-like historic buildings. She wanted them to be lived in and enjoyed as authentic, contributing elements in the urban landscape. We are honoring her philanthropy by pushing to make historic homes more comfortable and energy efficient”.

38 Green Street was purchased and restored by NRF in 1983 and has remained an active rental in NRF’s tenant-stewardship program. 38 Green Street is typical of many historic houses in Newport, with 1,200 square feet of living space, two floors, and a basement. Just like 38 Green Street, many of Newport’s older houses are unable to meet modern building efficiency standards. In response, many historic homeowners believe their houses cannot become efficient without removing and replacing historic fabric. Historic windows, siding, and doors are often the first elements of a house replaced with modern, ill-suited alternatives to reduce air changes and lower utility bills. Too often, these new features are incompatible with older house construction techniques, fail earlier than the older components they replaced, and reduce the character and appeal of both the interior and exterior of important historic homes.

In Newport, the unique construction techniques of its intact 18th-and 19th-century buildings often lead to energy inefficiencies. Plank construction consists of vertical sheathing boards with clapboards or shingles nailed to the exterior and lath and plaster applied directly to the interior, leaving no wall void. Conventional techniques of adding insulation to the interior or exterior could greatly alter the historic appearance of a property and cause vapor barrier concerns. “Many Newport buildings are of plank construction, and typical interior insulation fixes aren’t always an option,” says Margaret Back, Preservation Projects Manager at NRF. “This study will explore new, innovative ways to both make a historic property more efficient while retaining its historic materials and character.”

NRF has awarded the project to Building Conservation Associates, Inc. (BCA) of Newton Center, MA, a national architectural conservation firm with experience in energy efficiency studies. The project begins in 2024 with a comprehensive energy audit of the study site and research of comparable buildings in Newport. With an understanding of the building and baseline energy data, BCA will propose a series of efficiency retrofits and alterations that consider new technologies and materials, protection of historic fabric, and socially progressive preservation concepts.

NRF will provide real-time updates on the process so that both local and broader historic preservation communities can benefit from the ongoing process of discovery. A successful final product understands there is no “one size fits all” approach but takes a balanced view of improving an energy baseline while sustaining identified historic materials and character.

We understand that as each historic property is unique, there is no “one size fits all” answer for improving energy efficiency. However, we are aiming to create and implement scalable guidelines that we and other historic property owners can implement to improve historic buildings while retaining the historic fabric and character.



The Phase I restoration at Rough Point has been awarded a 2023 AIA Honor and Design Citation from the American Institute of Architects, Rhode Island. The nomination for the award was submitted by the architects and NRF’s partners on the project, DBVW Architects. One of only two citations given for Historic Preservation, the award recognizes the first phase of a multi-year project to restore and rehabilitate Rough Point, ensuring its protection from the effects of increasingly frequent storms and severe weather events.


“NRF is thrilled to be recognized by AIA RI for our restoration efforts at Rough Point,” says Alyssa Lozupone, Director of Preservation at NRF. “The project’s success would not have been possible without the collaborative efforts of the design, management, and construction team led expertly by DBVW Architects. The timing of AIA RI’s award is energizing as we have just embarked on the next phase of Rough Point’s multi-year preservation plan.”


The initial preservation phase started with an overall assessment of the building envelope and known areas of water infiltration. The results of the assessment informed the complete replacement of the historic slate roof and copper gutter system as well as targeted masonry restoration. DBVW Architects are overseeing the multi-phase project, which will include the full restoration of Rough Point’s masonry, windows, and interior spaces.


“The restoration of Rough Point reflects the ongoing transformation of NRF itself into a more community-oriented organization,” says Frankie Vagnone, President of NRF and Director of Rough Point Museum. “The restoration efforts are opening up parts of the building that, up to this point, have remained inaccessible to the public. Ensuring the long-term sustainability of the museum building creates opportunities for us to utilize spaces for the community to engage with NRF’s work and the philanthropic legacy of Doris Duke. We are grateful to the Doris Duke Foundation for their continued guidance and support of NRF and the restoration of Rough Point Museum.”


The American Institute of Architects, RI’s annual Design Awards Program is committed to excellence in architecture and celebrates outstanding works of architecture, and the project teams and clients who work with them to create and enhance our built environment.


This holiday season—whether you are cozy at home or away on an adventure— here are some great ideas to help celebrate the season.

Thank you for supporting the Newport Restoration Foundation and for shopping local. All proceeds benefit NRF and help promote our mission.

Enjoy free standard shipping—as well as free local delivery and free local pickup.

Take the stress out of gift-giving! Your gifts will be beautifully wrapped in paper featuring hand-drawn illustrations and patterning. Select “gift wrapping” during checkout.




Holidays in Hawaii Collection: Doris Duke often enjoyed the holiday season at her home in Hawaii, and these products are a nod to the warm and merry holidays Doris and friends spent at Shangri La.

Custom Stickers: *New* in 2023: Adorn your water bottle, laptop, or stick anywhere you want to show off your ❤️ for NRF.

For those who know every day is Caturday: Named after in honor of NRF resident garden cat, Luna the ornament is a purrfect and festive addition to your home. And unlike the real Luna, this ornament is safe around holiday trees!

Gift Sets: Perfectly curated gift sets for a special someone—or yourself! Each set includes a natural homemade soap bar, a hand-poured wood wick candle that crackles when lit, and a natural balm that nourishes and protects lips.

Ornaments: From the iconic exterior of Rough Point, to an homage to Doris’s passion for jazz, to brightly-colored handcrafted designs, these ornaments are perfect to display at home all year-round.

For Entertaining: Entertain in style (or dress up a cozy night at home) with these beautiful, collection-inspired, eco-friendly napkins, plates, coasters, and guest towels.







More unique gifts for all:

For the book-lover: From Doris Duke’s closets & collections, to historic Newport buildings, inside looks at Rough Point, colonial life & Newport furniture, garden-related stories for gardeners & enthusiasts, and kid-friendly new favorites & classics—discover a book for everyone!

For the decisive decision-maker: Featuring a saying from a pillow gifted to Doris Duke, these items showcase Doris’s sense of humor (and your own!)

For the furniture fan: These items are inspired by the Newport Galleries of Art, Craft, Design’s collection of exquisitely crafted furniture and the stories of the people who designed, made, and purchased furniture and related crafts.

For your furry friends: Our pets deserve some TLC this winter season (*all products are rated two paws up!)

For the gardener: Stylish & sturdy gardening gloves, beautiful books, hand salve, & more. NRF Estate Gardener approved!

For tea-enthusiasts: Featuring delicious flavors and custom patterns inspired by Rough Point and NRF houses, this collection has everything you need for a fancy afternoon tea or for enjoying a cozy, relaxing cuppa.

For restoration buffs: Founded in 1968 by Doris Duke, NRF works to study climate change resilience in Newport, develop new community-oriented programs, preserve our museums and historic buildings, and steward centuries-old properties. You too can join us in supporting this work.

For the yogi: These custom yoga pants are relaxing, comfy, & stylish. Limited quantities!




NRF Museum Store gift cards are also available for use online or in store.

Follow us on social media @nptrestoration or sign up to receive newsletters to stay in the know about new products and new sales.


Our special holiday pop-up is located at Rough Point Museum, 680 Bellevue Ave. Open Fridays- Sundays during the holiday season, beginning on November 24th.


The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) is announcing that Newport County residents are now able to visit Rough Point Museum free of charge. NRF is in the process of reimagining the Rough Point Museum as a community space and is utilizing previously inaccessible and underutilized spaces to make the museum more welcoming. Part of this strategy of accessibility includes removing barriers to access like the admission fee for Newport County residents.


“In a move toward developing a deeper community relationship as an asset to Newport County, admission to Rough Point Museum is now free for all Newport County residents,” said NRF President Frankie Vagnone. “With interactive visitor engagement, the new Newport Galleries of Art, Craft, and Design, along with the establishment and expansion of the new ‘Telling Stories’ initiative, the Newport Restoration Foundation is re-envisioning our purpose and expanding our commitment to the community.”


Visitors to Rough Point Museum can engage with the life and legacy of NRF founder Doris Duke through a variety of experiences—including an interactive self-guided tour available through the Newport Restoration Foundation app. While exploring the house, visitors can learn more about the rooms, collections, and people of Rough Point, watch behind-the-scenes videos related to the caretaking of the museum and the objects, virtually step inside spaces not on the tour path, and encounter special object highlights.


The announcement of free admission to Rough Point Museum for Newport County residents caps off a landmark year for NRF. Milestones include the introduction of 3D printed reproduction artifacts, hands-on engagement, video kiosks, and the opening of the west wing of Rough Point for dedicated galleries to display the collection of Newport furniture & decorative arts first envisioned by Doris Duke. This year also saw the reopening of Vernon House at 46 Clarke Street for “GAMES, GAMBLERS & CARTOMANCERS: The New Cardsharps”, an innovative art exhibition in partnership with Art & Newport which juxtaposed contemporary art, conversation, and thought with the rich historic setting and stories of Vernon House. Admission to this exhibition was also free, allowing over 1700 visitors to experience Vernon House, nearly one-third of whom were Newport County residents.

NRF is committed to using spaces like Rough Point Museum and Vernon House as settings for the public to gather and encounter new ideas, stories, and experiences that reflect Newport and its multitude of communities. With Rough Point Museum now accessible at no cost to Newport County residents, NRF seeks to engage with the Newport community in a new way.

To be admitted, Newport County residents will simply need to show proof of address at the museum entrance. Rough Point Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 4pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm.

Newport, RI, October 6, 2023 – The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) is announcing a new session of its pilot Preservation Trades Specialist Training Program, a hands-on training and experience-building course designed to expand the skillsets of experienced tradespeople and increase knowledge of preservation tradecraft in Newport. 


The course will be held from November 2023 to February 2024. Classes are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00 to 7:30pm in Newport. The fee for the program is $250 which will cover instructor fees and materials, and graduates will receive a “Preservation Trades Specialist” certificate from NRF. More information about the program, fees, and application can be found on the NRF website at 


Building on the success of two previous cohorts held in November 2022 and April 2023, this course will further NRF’s goal of developing training programs by utilizing craft and historic sites all over Newport for participants to receive hands-on training in a range of preservation trade skills, as well as work side by side with NRF’s in-house crew of experienced tradespeople. 


The Fall 2023 session is being funded with contributions from the Doris Duke Foundation, and funding for future sessions has been secured with support from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation and an individual donor.  


The Preservation Trades Specialist Training Program is designed to address the impending loss of expertise facing the preservation trade industry. Much of the existing preservation trade knowledge is held by craftspeople who are aging out of the workforce, and many new workers do not have access to specialized training required of historic preservation. One of the main aims of the program is to train experienced general construction workers in the specific skills required to work on historic structures; 54% of Newport properties are of a historic age and need to be maintained or restored using modified techniques that consider the original materials and methods of construction.  

“Newport has a high percentage of historic homes with an undersized workforce to keep those properties standing,” said Kris Turgeon, NRF’s Historic Trades Manager. “This course will allow NRF to continue training the local community with an eye toward preservation rather than replacement of buildings.” 

Participants in the program will gain a working knowledge of how to identify and approach repairs on historic buildings, and learn skills such as historic preservation fundamentals, traditional plastering, historic paints and finishes, and more. Graduates will also receive a “Preservation Trades Specialist” certificate from NRF, and expand their network of local contractors, preservation professionals, and other working craftspeople in Newport.  


“It has been so rewarding to see the participants learn and develop these crucial skills that are integral to the future of the preservation field, and to hear from participants how much experience they’ve gained through this program and will carry with them into the industry,” Kris Turgeon said. 

The NRF PTS program is run in collaboration with several national and international preservation organizations, including Rockwood Joinery, The Campaign for the Historic Trades, International Yacht Restoration School of Technology and Trade (IYRS), and local preservation contractors like Gnazzo Masonry, Kirby Perkins, and Crocker Architectural. These partnerships are fundamental to NRF’s goal of engaging community collaborators to generate effective change in the Newport community.  

August 24, 2023, Newport, RI— The Newport Restoration Foundation is announcing the recipients of its annual Doris Duke Historic Preservation Awards for their exemplary projects of historic preservation in Newport. The 2023 awards also seek to highlight innovative approaches to preservation, including new technologies, materials/products, creative adaptive reuse, excellence in practice, climate change adaptations, and similarly progressive concepts.   

The Doris Duke Preservation Awards are a collaboration of the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) and the City of Newport. The awards celebrate individuals for preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation projects and educational activities that help protect the historic sites, landscapes, and overall character of Newport County. The awards are juried by representatives from the Newport Restoration Foundation, the City of Newport, and individuals involved in local preservation practice.  

For this year’s awards, NRF recognizes the following outstanding projects:  

Newport Historic Cemetery Advisory Commission, Newport, RI- Awarded to the Newport Historic Cemetery Advisory Commission (HCAC), a nine-member volunteer appointed commission to assist the city in efforts to preserve, protect and promote Newport’s historic burying grounds. The HCAC’s recent work has focused on improving site access, expanding funding, repairing headstones, and increasing educational content for the City’s eight burial grounds that serve as important historic public spaces.  

The Captain William Finch House (c. 1770), 78 Washington Street, Newport, RI- Awarded to Dave and Jenay Evans for the exterior and interior restoration of their 18th-century home. The project fully restored the building from a state of structural disrepair and transformed it into a vibrant home. The project carefully retained the building’s original craftsmanship and detailing while updating the property to code.  

Newport Tree Conservancy, Newport, RI– Awarded to the Newport Tree Conservancy for the Heritage Tree Center, a community resource to study, protect, and propagate Rhode Island’s most unique, historic, and at-risk heritage trees. The Center is preserving and propagating the genetic lines of historic trees statewide for public and private planting. It also engages Newport students to expand the community’s involvement in the horticultural process. 

The Sailing Museum, 365 Thames Street, Newport, RI- Awarded to the Sailing Museum for the adaptive use of the historic Newport Armory (1894). The project, undertaken in collaboration with the City of Newport and contractor Kirby Perkins, transformed the Armory into a multi-use public and private space in the heart of Thames Street. The project included timely exterior repairs to preserve the building while updating the interior to be a welcoming public space.  

 “This year’s award recipients represent the wide variety of cultural preservation projects accomplished by individuals and groups across the city.” said NRF’s Director of Preservation, Alyssa Lozupone. “And we are introducing the new President’s Award, for excellence in preservation, which we will announce at the event. We are excited to celebrate community-minded ventures that further educational and social initiatives surrounding heritage and preservation in Newport.”  

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