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 April to November.
Experience the only museum in the world specializing in 18th-century Newport furniture and related decorative arts.
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.
Newport Restoration Foundation’s Whitehorne House Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to displaying and exploring the artistry, history, and culture of 18th-century Newport furniture and related decorative arts.
Highlights of the Museum guided tours introduce visitors to 18th-century Newport furniture and the story of early America, Newport’s role in the development of the United States, and the wider global trade system. The tour visits two floors of the museum and lasts approximately 30 minutes.
Tours are offered daily at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm. Included with admission.
One of the highlights of Whitehorne House Museum is its beautiful garden. While the lot behind the museum has changed over the years—today the garden is designed to be a space for community to relax, have a conversation, and enjoy.
For groups larger than 10 visitors,
please visit our Group Tours page.
The museum is currently closed for the 2019 season and will reopen May 27, 2020.
Children 12 & under: Free
Combine Your Ticket
Purchase a combined ticket to both Whitehorne House Museum and Rough Point Museum for only $25!
416 Thames Street
401–846–4152 ext. 123
Limited metered parking available.
Benjamin Baker Highboy
George Washington mantel clock
Caleb Wheaton tall case clock
Side chair by John Townsend
Dining table by John Townsend
Portrait of Rebecca Taylor Orne by Joseph Badger
Benjamin Baker was active as a very prolific chair maker in Newport from 1760, and is also known to have made clock cases, tables and case furniture that was produced primarily for export to the coastal trade. Among the many Newport characteristics found on the highboy is the use of cabriole legs with pad feet on the rear in combination with open-talon claw and ball front legs -- a Newport practice for furniture intended to stand against the wall. Another Newport trait is the elongated ball and claw foot with webless talons having an extended grip over the ball, which in this case are undercut. Of special interest is the intaglio carved petal and leaf motif decorating the knees, a feature frequently found on Newport highboys and tea tables. A focal point is the beautifully carved shell motif, also a favorite decorative device of the high style Newport cabinetmakers. Here it is further decorated at the center with a fleur-de-lys. The most unusual feature of the Whitehorne House Museum’s high chest are the three drawers in the top row of the upper case.
Commemorative clock depicting George Washington. With white enamel dial contained in a rectangular plinth surmounted by a gilt eagle with the motto "E Pluribus unum" flanked on the right by a standing figure of George Washington in military costume with inscription on swag, rectangular base with figural commemorative panel on the front of the base that depicts Washington as Cincinnatus, the famed citizen-statesman of Rome in the fifth century, B.C. The whole raised on engine turned bun feet, silk lining on interior of hinged works cover.
This tall clock case is the work of eminent Providence clock manufacturer Caleb Wheaton. Tall clock cases like this example were prized possessions of mid-eighteenth century American families. The bonnet of the case has a molded curved cresting that supports three fluted urn and flame finials. The bonnet is supported by two full and two half fluted pillars and the white painted dial is decorated with urn and scroll spandrels. The dial also includes the hour and second hands as well as a date register and the maker's name "Caleb Wheaton Providence". The door block and carved at top with a projecting carved shell, the plain base supported on ogee bracket feet.
This is one of a pair of ball and claw foot side chairs in the Whitehorne House Museum collection, originally part of a larger set. They have served as the touchstone of what a typical Chippendale chair by John Townsend might look like. The overall effect of these chairs is one of strength. The base is particularly robust, with its boldly carved ball and claw feet and thick unchamfered rear legs joined soundly by block and ring turned stretchers; a standard feature of eighteenth-century Massachusetts and Rhode Island chairs. The arched section at the center of the crest rail is crosshatched, a favorite decorative device of Newport craftsmen. During the second half of the eighteenth century, chairs with interlaced c-scroll splats were popular with cabinetmakers along the east coast. The splats on this pair of side chairs are based on English printed prototypes, as was a common practice in each of the major colonial port cities.
The Whitehorne House Museum’s oval dining table is one of only two known labeled dining tables made by John Townsend. This dining table is an example of the type of architectural furnishings considered to be necessary in 18th-century dining spaces. This graceful neo-classical oval table retains the functionality of its predecessors as it can separate into a table and two consoles for alternate uses or storage. The plinths above each leg are decorated with four undulating vertical blocks or “book inlay,” a feature associated with the workshop of John Townsend. On the legs is a string of five bellflowers centering a spine of black inlay, and, characteristic of John Townsend’s work, the bellflowers rest above two inlaid dots. Pasted on the center of one of the back rails of one of the consoles is a rectangular engraved label reading MADE BY / JOHN TOWNSEND, / NEWPORT. with the date 1796 written by hand.