The Newport Historical Society Announces French in Newport Living History Weekend in Washington Square

The Newport Historical Society is thrilled to announce the return of the highly anticipated French in Newport Living History Weekend, July 14 and July 15, 2023 from 11am-4pm, in historic Washington Square. This immersive weekend aims to transport visitors back in time to the roots of the Franco-American alliance.

In July 1780, thousands of French troops landed in Newport beginning an occupation that lasted for nearly a year. The presence of this new ally represented a turning point in the American Revolution.

Visitors will have the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in an authentic and engaging experience. Living historians will portray recognizable figures such as George and Martha Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, the Marquis de Chastellux, along with the head of the French army, comte de Rochambeau. Dozens of costumed living historians representing both civilians and French soldiers will also discuss the challenges of establishing this new alliance. Learn about newspapers in 1780, the many layers of French military uniforms, see French fashion and hair styling demonstrations, sample historic teas, and much more.

The NHS will partner with the Museum of the American Revolution’s “First Oval Office Project,” a hand-sewn replica of George Washington’s sleeping tent, which will be exhibited in Washington Square. General Washington met with Rochambeau and other French leaders under canvas throughout the final campaign of the war. Join costumed staff from the Museum of the American Revolution in immersive explorations of Washington’s tents and campaign equipment and the stories his guard and “military family” in the Revolutionary War.

Justin Cherry from Half Crown Bakehouse, and resident baker at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, will offer 18th century baking demonstrations and discuss the rations that would have been available to soldiers in 1780 Newport.

“We invite the community and visitors alike to experience the French in Newport Living History weekend,” states Johnny Carawan of the National Park Service. “This event provides a unique opportunity to explore the dynamic cultural exchange that occurred between Newport and France in 1780 and it promises to be a fun, immersive, and educational experience for all ages.”

The event concludes with a free concert presented by the Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes & Drums Corps on Saturday July 15 at 3:30pm in front of the Colony House. A full schedule of activities will be available in late June 2023. NHS will offer walking tours on Friday, July 14 at 11am and 4pm, and Saturday, July 15 at 11am and 2pm. Site tours of the Colony House are offered both days at 3pm. For details about these tours and to purchase tickets please visit

Alliance Francaise de Newport will host a Rochambeau Celebration on July 15, 2023 at 10am and King Park. George Antone, Ph.D. will discuss Rochambeau and his troops’ role in helping secure American freedom. Special guests will include students from Seicheprey, France.




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