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Newport, RI, March 13, 2019 — Newport Restoration Foundation is tackling some of the many questions they receive from visitors about heiress, preservationist, and art collector, Doris Duke, in its new exhibition, Beyond Fortune: The Life & Legacy of Doris Duke. The exhibition will run during the museum’s season, April 2 to November 17, 2019.
The philanthropic causes Doris Duke (1912-1993) cared for or the foundation she established unfortunately do not always come to mind when people recall her name. As with many public figures, much of Doris’ life played out on the pages of tabloids and gossip columns creating a popular memory of her made of half-truths that overshadow her generosity and patronage of a variety of charitable efforts.
Because of this public perception, Rough Point Museum’s 2019 exhibition asks the question, “What do we really know about Doris Duke?” Using historical documents and photographs from the Doris Duke Historical Archives at the David Rubenstein Library at Duke University and items from the Rough Point fine art and fashion collection, NRF is inviting visitors to learn more about Doris by looking honestly at her interests, complexities, and eccentricities to see beyond the myths and legends often associated with her life.
“Doris Duke was a dynamic woman who throughout her life had a wide variety of interests that extended into the arts, environment, and creating nonprofit organizations for causes that were important to her,” said Kristen Costa, Curator at Newport Restoration Foundation. “This exhibit looks honestly at her life from what she left behind. Doris Duke did not leave journals or diaries so we rely on the objects of her life to tell us more about the woman.”
Items on view in the exhibit include loaned objects from Shangri La, Doris Duke’s home in Hawaii, and objects from her personal collection such as a typewriter used during World War II service and some of her favorite vinyl records. Visitors can also look forward to seeing more fashion in the exhibition this season, from designer pieces, to accessories, and even a belly dancing costume.
“The objects in this exhibition tell us a lot about numerous aspects of her fascinating and complicated life, from her romances to her fashion sense, and (perhaps of greatest significance) to her deep commitment to philanthropy in general and historic preservation in particular,” said NRF Director of Museums, Erik Greenberg.
Beyond Fortune: The Life & Legacy of Doris Duke will be on exhibit in the galleries at Rough Point Museum starting Tuesday, April 2, continuing through Sunday, November 17, 2019. The museum is open Tuesday – Sunday, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Wednesdays until 7:00 pm. Tickets for self-guided access to the house, special exhibitions, and the grounds, are $20. Tickets for students with ID are $10 and free for children 12 and younger. Highlights of the museum and garden tours offered daily. Tickets available at the door; no advance reservation necessary.
Visit www.newportrestoration.org/roughpoint or call (401) 847-8344 for more information.
About the Newport Restoration Foundation
The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) is a non-profit organization established by philanthropist Doris Duke in 1968 to preserve the architectural and cultural heritage of 18th and 19th century Newport. NRF promotes economic and community restoration through historic preservation initiatives like Keeping History Above Water, which addresses the impact of sea-level rise on the built environment in the wake of climate change, and the Historic Trades Initiative, which harnesses the knowledge of local specialists to train the next generation of preservation craftspeople. In addition to a collection of more than 70 colonial houses, now rented to tenant stewards, NRF operates properties that are open to the public —including Rough Point, the Newport home of Doris Duke, and The Vernon House, a site of expansive storytelling, contemporary dialogue, and preservation trades skill-building.
NRF is on Facebook /NPTRestoration and Instagram @NPTRestoration. Visit newportrestoration.org for more information.