Preservation Society Fellows Program Receives $625,000 Grant from van Beuren Charitable Foundation

The van Beuren Charitable Foundation, a Rhode Island-based grant making organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the unique characteristics of Newport County, has awarded The Preservation Society of Newport County a $625,000 grant toward one of its key Comprehensive Campaign initiatives -- the creation of an endowed Fund for Fellows to support original research and scholarship in history, design and preservation. 

Combined with a $500,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and gifts from private donors, including a prior gift from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, the Preservation Society has raised a total of $1,530,000 for this program.  This recent grant from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation brings the Preservation Society close to the halfway mark of its $3.3 million goal for the Fund for Fellows.

"We are tremendously grateful to the van Beuren Charitable Foundation for its generous support of this vital academic project," said Preservation Society CEO & Executive Director Trudy Coxe.  "We now have funding to support three fully-endowed Fellows, plus partial funding for a fourth position. Our ultimate goal is to endow five Fellows, who will live and work in a Scholars Center that will be created by restoring the Carriage House at The Elms. We know this generous gift will help to inspire additional donors to support both the endowment and the restoration work. "

"Investments like this one are the lifeblood of the Preservation Society," added Coxe.  "Without the support of our donors, we could not accomplish our mission of maintaining these houses and their collections and advancing our knowledge of the period of history they represent.

The research that these Fellows will conduct will contribute to the vibrancy of the tours and programs we offer, sustaining the economic vitality of the Preservation Society, and ultimately of Newport as a visitor destination."

The goals of the Fellows program are to foster and facilitate the scholarly study of Newport’s cultural heritage; expand historical discourse to encompass Newport’s relevance within the broader context of the humanities; generate studies and publications that place Newport within national and international contexts; elevate Newport’s profile as a vibrant center for the exchange of ideas; serve the museum and historic preservation community by providing much needed research, publication, and training opportunities for emerging scholars; and promote cross-institutional collaboration among Newport’s cultural heritage organizations and beyond, increasing the visibility of their treasured collections both nationally and internationally.

The fellowship opportunity at the Preservation Society is unique in that it will provide not only academic support for scholarly research and publication, but also the opportunity to work with mentors on the Preservation Society staff developing marketable professional skills and experience in museum and preservation-related fields. 

The Preservation Society is in the midst of a comprehensive campaign, An American Story, with four key fundraising priorities:


  • Establish The Elms Scholars Center and endowed Fund for Fellows, to support original research and scholarship on Newport's history and the Preservation Society's collections;
  • Build the endowment, to ensure that the Preservation Society can continue to face the challenge of maintaining its historic properties for generations to come;
  • Invest in conservation and collections, to care for its more than 55,000 artifacts in accordance with best museum practices and continue to re-acquire objects original to its properties;
  • Enhance the visitor experience, by building a new welcome center at The Breakers.


About the van Beuren Charitable Foundation

In 1986 John A. and Hope H. van Beuren established the van Beuren Charitable Foundation.  As an extension of the family's philanthropic values, it focuses on supporting and enhancing the exceptional natural, cultural and human resources of Newport County and making a positive impact on the lives of its residents.  Having contributed over $50 million to the community since its inception, the Foundation has emerged as a consistently reliable partner to like-minded charitable organizations and remains committed to strengthening resources and activities in its four priority areas of interest: land use and conservation, historic preservation, education and health.


About The Preservation Society of Newport County

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. 



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