The Preservation Society of Newport County was joined by state tourism officials and legislative and local leaders today to announce that the Newport Mansions gave more than one million tours in 2016, the first museum in New England outside of Boston to reach that milestone.
“This milestone is evidence of the tremendous growth potential for tourism in Rhode Island,” said Lara Salamano, Chief Marketing Officer for the State of Rhode Island. “That’s why it’s critical that the state continue to work together with its private sector partners to make investments in sharing the Rhode Island story with people from all over the world.”
From January 1 through December 31, 2016, the Preservation Society gave 1,019,983 tours of its 10 historic properties, from the tiny Colonial Hunter House (1748) to Newport’s largest mansion, The Breakers (1895). In September and October, the Newport Mansions were the most visited museum in New England.
“Our admissions growth has been steady over the past decade, even as some other historic house museums nationally have struggled,” said Trudy Coxe, CEO & Executive Director of the Preservation Society. “We’ve accomplished this through some strategic decision-making: expanding our shoulder season operating schedule to make more houses available year round; offering new tours like our soon-to-be unveiled Beneath The Breakers Tour; creating new exhibition space at Rosecliff; and making strategic investments in digital technology and innovative marketing.”
“The Newport Mansions are more than a tourist attraction,” said Monty Burnham, Chairman of the Preservation Society’s Board of Trustees. “We are protecting, preserving and presenting some of America’s most exceptional historic houses and landscapes. And we are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, a status achieved by only about 6% of all the museums in America.”
William Corcoran, Jr., owner of Newport Tent Company, congratulated the Preservation Society as well: “While the Preservation Society employs more than 400 full-time and seasonal workers, making it a major economic engine for the local workforce, this is only half the story. Behind the scenes, the Preservation Society is responsible for creating hundreds of jobs for the private sector. As the host for numerous weddings, galas and special events, the Preservation Society properties allow local caterers, florists, musicians, tent companies, etc., to put an army of local residents to work.”
Visitors to the Newport Mansions over the past year came from all 50 states and at least 114 countries. That represents 25% growth in visitation since 2008. Surveys also find that 40% of Newport Mansions visitors come back for repeat visits.
The Preservation Society now operates four of its historic house museums daily year-round: The Breakers, The Elms, Marble House and Rosecliff. The other houses – Chateau-sur-Mer, Chepstow, Hunter House, Isaac Bell House, Kingscote and Green Animals Topiary Garden – operate on a seasonal schedule from early spring to late fall.
The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, is a non-profit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history. Its 11 historic properties–seven of them National Historic Landmarks–span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.