As some of you may be aware there is a controversy in Newport over the visitor’s center planned for on the grounds of the Breakers, one of the houses of the Preservation Society of Newport County. The proposed visitor’s center will be placed inside the fenced property on a site that had been an important garden. Like many Newporters, I believe there is a better solution.
My wife and I visit many museums and gardens all over the world. I always look not just at the collections, but how the public is received and treated. The quality of the food and service. How friendly and helpful the guides are.
I believe the Preservation Society of Newport County is violating their own mission statement which is to preserve these houses in their entirety.
Today we visited, for the second time “Filoli” south of San Francisco. The visitor’s center is just off the parking, obscured from all angles from the main house and gardens. Food is served; it is good and fresh. As you see there is no food allowed on the grounds.
The visitor sees the house and gardens as it was meant to be seen.
Monday evening, January 27th, the Zoning Board of Review of Newport Rhode Island will review the New Historic District Commission’s decision which would not allow the visitor’s center to be built on the property of the Breakers. The Zoning Board will review the decision as to whether or not the law was applied as written.
This has been a continuing heated issue in Newport. I cannot see how building this Visitor’s Center on the Breakers property is consistent with the Mission of the Preservation Society.
Great Houses connect people to a nation’s heritage and open windows to another age.
The Preservation Society of Newport County is a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect, preserve, and present an exceptional collection of house museums and landscapes in one of the most historically intact cities in America.
We hold in public trust the Newport Mansions which are an integral part of the living fabric of Newport, Rhode Island. These sites exemplify three centuries of the finest achievements in American architecture, decorative arts, and landscape design spanning the Colonial era to the Gilded Age.
Through our historic properties, educational programs, and related activities we engage the public in the story of America’s vibrant cultural heritage.
We seek to inspire and promote an appreciation of the value of preservation to enrich the lives of people everywhere.
To that end these two paintings have been returned to their rightful places. We forget so easily that in the fifties and sixties the houses now under the care of the Preservation Society were at risk. ( There were a number of great houses in Newport that were torn down) Since then the efforts to re-assemble the collections housed in these magnificent edifices is the work of Sisyphus.