Seven Museums Join Forces | September 28, 2017

By Brooke Constance White


ABOVE: Audrian Automobile Museum. BELOW: Redwood Library and Athenaeum.
If you don’t think 36 hours in Newport is enough time to experience culture in the city, think again. Seven of the coastal community’s major museums have sponsored a tourism marketing website, and are selling combination tickets to the group of museums based on the idea that Newport is the perfect place to spend 36 hours.

Included in the ticket are Audrain Automobile Museum, International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum, Newport Art Museum, Rough Point, Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Marble House and Touro Synagogue Foundation.

The new website, 36HoursInNewportRI.com, where the tickets can be purchased, is a one-stop shop to get information on the restaurants, museums, attractions, businesses, beaches and parks worth visiting. The Preservation Society of Newport County and Touro Synagogue Foundation partnered to create the site, which grew out of Catalyzing Newport, a joint visiting scholars project supported by the van Beuren Charitable Foundation and facilitated by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.

John G. Rodman, director of museum experience for the Preservation Society of Newport County, told Newport This Week that the cost of the combined tickets, packaged in either a three- or seven-museum bundle, is roughly half the price of the tickets on their own. Although the website is somewhat “crowd-sourced” with people submitting tips and reviews, Rodman said it’s not like TripAdvisor or Yelp in that the posts are constructive and submitted by business owners.

“Only good stuff gets on the website,” Rodman said about the newly launched marketing site. “It sounds corny but it’s all about celebrating our corner of Rhode Island.”

In addition to content posted by local residents and businesses, the new website will soon provide links to other valuable sites such as Discover Newport’s restaurant and lodging pages and the state tourism website, as well as municipal information from the cities and towns. Additionally, the site will include links to commercial and government boating and maritime websites, local radio, TV weather and road conditions reports, and a range of other resources.

Evan Smith, president and CEO of Discover Newport, said that although having a combined ticket for a group of attractions is new and exciting for Newport, it’s not particularly unique as cities across the country have similar ticket programs for visitors. But although many communities have utilized a third-party program such as City- PASS, Smith said this website and program came together through an organic assembly of people working together to offer visitors a practical new product.

“The biggest benefit to visitors is the convenience factor,” he said. “There is a value proposition in it for sure, as well, which is good because everyone wants to get good value for the dollars they’re investing in a community.”

While the ticket only includes seven attractions at the moment, there’s the possibility that more could join if they were interested, Smith said.

“I don’t think any city achieves 100 percent participation, but the goal would be to get as many as possible to participate,” he said. “I’m hoping that other attractions like Fort Adams will look at this and say they want to be a part of it as well.”

Newport Art Museum Marketing Director Merrill Allen said the combined ticket offers a great range of attractions for those of varied interests. From art to classic cars to life in the late 19th century to tennis, Newport and this new partnership have much to offer visitors and residents alike, she said.

“The 36 Hours in Newport website offers a crowd-sourced platform where we can celebrate our city and its rich cultural offerings,” she said. “The art museum embraced this collaborative partnership between our organizations not only to unite our collections, but to provide a more accessible opportunity for our visitors of all interests.”

As an enlightenment port city, Newport has been a cosmopolitan center of traditional and global contemporary culture for years, said Benedict Leca, executive director of the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, in a release.

“As an institution, this is what the Redwood believes in,” she said of the eclectic culture the community offers. “This is why we believe in the benefits of the 36 Hours in Newport website and joining with six other prominent museums to efficiently direct visitors to whatever they seek, be it historical understanding or the best burger in town.”

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