The Mission of The Museum of Newport Irish History is to tell the story of the Irish immigration in Newport County from the 1600s to the present, to preserve artifacts and mementoes of that movement, and to facilitate research into Irish heritage.
Accomplishments to Date:
- Designed and constructed an Interpretive Center , which opened to the public in June 2011 at 648 Lower Thames Street.
- Center exhibits include maps, photographs, video and artifacts, and staffing is provided by trained volunteer docents. During first two seasons of operation, educated and entertained more than 1500 visitors from the U.S. and abroad.
- Restored and maintains the historic Barney Street (St. Joseph's) Cemetery
- established in the 1830s to support Rhode Island's first Catholic Parish, and the final resting place of some of Newport's earliest Irish immigrants.
- Presents the popular " Michael F. Crowley Lecture Series ," established in 2003, and held each fall/winter with the generous support of the La Forge Casino Restaurant.
- Topics of Irish historical interest are presented by university-based and independent scholars from the region and beyond.
- Institutions represented have included: Brown University, University of Massachusetts, Boston College, University of Rhode Island, Salve Regina University, Fairfield University, College of the Holy Cross, Roger Williams University and Notre Dame University.
- Conducts a free bus tour each March entitled "Irish Newport". Participants are taken to Irish-related sites which include Fort Adams, the Forty Steps on Cliff Walk, the Barney Street Cemetery and St. Mary's Church.
- Produced and sold more than 200 videos on Newport Irish History and is developing three DVDs relating to Irish History in Newport County.
- Maintains a delightful group of displays with pictures and artifacts of Newport Irish history at the Fort Adams State Park visitor center,
- more than 500 free "Tour of Irish Newport" brochures are distributed to visitors each year.
- Publishes a Quarterly Newsletter
which is mailed to all members and posted on the Museum website.
- Maintains a library currently containing more than
200 books, maps, CDs, DVDs, and other items of historical interest, with many being catalogued into the Library of Congress by a Salve Regina University graduate student.
- Donated books [over 100] on Irish history, music, poetry and literature to all Newport County high schools and middle schools.
- Provides speakers for schools and service organizations such as AARP, ROTARY, Military Officers Association, Council for International Visitors and Senior Centers.
Projects in process include oral interviews and recordings of local first- and second- generation Irish to form a library of oral histories of the local Irish community and genealogy data base with kiosk access.