Thousands of French troops landed in Newport in July 1780 starting an occupation that lasted for nearly a year. The presence of this new ally represented a turning point in the American Revolution. While French troops played a vital role in American victory at Yorktown in 1781, Newport citizens were far from welcoming upon their arrival in 1780. This summer, the Newport Historical Society will showcase aspects of this pivotal point in American history during the French in Newport living history weekend, a three-day event that showcases life in 1780 America, on the weekend of July 8 – July 10, 2022.
The French in Newport Weekend will feature living historians portraying recognizable figures such as George and Martha Washington along with the head of the French army, comte de Rochambeau. Dozens of costumed living historians representing both civilians and French soldiers will discuss what it was like to build a relationship with this new ally. Programming will take place outside of the Great Friends Meeting House, the Colony House and the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House.
The NHS is again partnering 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 featured July 8 – July 10, 2022. Washington met with Rochambeau and other French leaders under canvas throughout the campaign of 1781. 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.
Additionally the National Park Service’s traveling archaeology lab will be available on Friday July 8, 2022. The NPS is also sponsoring a kids scavenger hunt which allows participants who complete this activity to enjoy a free sail on schooner Adirondack II.
The 2022 French in Newport living history weekend will run each day starting at 11am. Admission is free, donations are welcome. This event is generously sponsored by the National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association.
Schedule of weekend events:
• Thursday July 7, 2022: French Culinary Adventure cocktail reception. Tickets required: please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
• Friday July 8, 2022: First Oval Office Project; NPS Traveling Archaeology Lab; Meet George and Martha Washington; Visit the Great Friends Meeting House
• Saturday July 9, 2022: First Oval Office Project; Dozens of living historians will occupy the Great Friends Meeting House lawn, the Colony House and the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House; Visit the Great Friends Meeting House
• Sunday July 10, 2022: First Oval Office Project, Living historians available at the Great Friends Meeting House lawn; Visit the Great Friends Meeting House