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.
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21 Green Street
The John Sisson House is a small, one-and-a-half-story building of rural origins with a large center chimney and a gambrel roof. Built c.1730, the house was originally located on Old Mill Lane in Portsmouth, a town on the same island as Newport. The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) purchased the structure in 1974, disassembled it, and relocated it to the current site on Green Street where it was reconstructed and restored in 1974-75.
The original chimney was in the house at this time, but in such deteriorated condition that a complete reconstruction, utilizing old materials, was necessary. Fortunately, approximately seventy-five percent of the original fabric remained on the rest of the interior, such as mantelpieces, doors, and moldings. This was all used when the building was relocated and restored.
Preservationists must sometimes decide whether or not it is appropriate to site a rural building in an urban setting. In the various cases where NRF made the decision to do so, it was often acting under significant time pressures. The Sisson House, for example, had to be disassembled and removed from its original site in six weeks' time. In every case where a house located outside Newport was reassembled in Newport, consultants to NRF recommended relocation based on architectural significance and condition. It was better to have the building, even on a somewhat inappropriate site, than not to have the building at all. This was a principle generally held by preservationists throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
Photo of the house before restoration.