& Washington Square Wins the 2013 Historic Site in Journalism Award
Newport’s history has long held an important place in shaping American history and the Newport Historical Society works hard to tell those stories. Newport’s history has been honored with two awards: a statewide education award and a national journalism award.
“We are thrilled that our Explore Historic Newport app has received Preserve Rhode Island’s Education Award,” explains the Society’s Director of Education Ingrid Peters. The GPS-enabled app, which features historic photos from the Society’s collections and audio clips for over 75 historic sites along with digital exhibits, is web-based so it is available on all mobile devices—including desktop computers. It can be experienced by visiting NewportHistoryapp.com. “We could not have reached this milestone and share Newport’s history on an international level without our sponsor Lila Delman Real Estate,” Peters concludes.
“With Explore Historic Newport, the venerable Newport Historical Society has embraced the technology of the 21st-century,” states a recent press release from Preserve Rhode Island. “This forward-looking program, one of the first of its kind in the state, ensures that Newport’s stories will be told far and wide.”
The Society of Professional Journalists has presented the 2013 Historic Site in Journalism Award to Washington Square. Nominated by the editor of The Newport Mercury, Janine Weisman, this award honors the people and places that have played important roles in American journalistic history.
Much of the journalistic history that has taken place at Washington Square focuses around the Franklin Press, which is housed in the Historical Society’s Museum of Newport History. “Washington Square was the original town common from 1639,” explains NHS Librarian Bert Lippincott. “The printing press which published colonial era documents and the town’s newspaper The Newport Mercury was managed by James Franklin, Benjamin Franklin’s brother, and it’s believed that Ben Franklin apprenticed on the press before moving to Philadelphia.”
Today the Franklin Press is exhibited year-round at the Museum of Newport History in the Brick Market: Museum & Shop, 127 Thames Street, at the foot of Washington Square. The museum is open daily at 10am, suggested admission is $4 per person.
“These awards are an honor for Newport’s rich history,” says the Historical Society’s Executive Director Ruth Taylor. “This city deserves the recognition that The Historic Site in Journalism Award and the Preserve Rhode Island Education Award help provide.”