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.
Visit Doris Duke’s art-filled mansion and enjoy panoramic ocean views from the extensive grounds. Open late March to November.
The Vernon House is a site for expansive story-telling, contemporary dialogue, and preservation trades skill-building.
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.
From the beach to the bowling alley, from surfing to skiing, Doris Duke was a woman who loved to play. The 2011 exhibition, Dressed to Play: The Sporty Style of Doris Duke, explored the athletic side of her personality and her activity-filled lifestyle. A selection of the exhibited fashion and objects, from the 1940s to the 1970s, are shown here.
The earliest swimsuits were made of wool, a material that constricted movement when wet. Advancements in textiles brought less restrictive swimwear with elasticized fabric, such as Lastex, invented in 1931. In the early 1930s, two-piece suits bared midriffs, but it was not until the introduction of the skimpy bikini in 1946 that navels were exposed. Nylon was introduced in 1950 and revolutionized the world of swim and active wear. This and other new fabrics would stretch but return back to its original shape. Up until that time, most one-piece swimsuits were designed with the same aesthetic as eveningwear—structured with back zipper closures.
When she settled at her home Shangri La in 1938, Doris Duke quickly became friendly with the Kahanamokus, a local family. Duke Kahanamoku was an Olympic diver and celebrated champion surfer. He and his brother, Sam, taught Doris to surf, as well as other Hawaiian water sports like paddling and sailing a traditional outrigger canoe.
This surfboard was made by Dale Velzy, who opened the first conventional surf shop in Manhattan Beach, California, in 1949. A year later, he set up shop on Cook Street in Honolulu in 1950. This board is one of the first boards Velzy created using the new foam polyurethane material; boards were previously made of balsa wood.
Doris Duke was passionate about dancing from an early age. In the summer of 1925, when she was thirteen, she won a trophy for dancing the tango. Miss Duke studied with world-renowned dancers and choreographers all over the globe to learn native dancing, including belly dancing. She was a member of Martha Graham’s Dance Company in New York. The depth of her enthusiasm remains evident today through the work of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. In setting up the foundation, Miss Duke specified her desire to assist “actors, dancers, singers, musicians and other artists of the entertainment world in fulfilling their ambitions and providing opportunities for the public presentation of their arts and talents.”