The Newport Historical Society is receiving recognition for its innovative approach to public history. In a collaborative initiative called “History Space,” the NHS provides the public with new ways to engage with the past, including site-specific living history events that have been very popular with visitors and residents alike. Now, the Society is growing these efforts by focusing on common trades of the 18th century at the c.1697 Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House.
The first program, set for Saturday July 15, 2017, is “Life in 1777 Newport: A History Space Event” and will feature leather working expert Roy Najecki. Leather was used in many products in the 18th century, such as saddles, shoes, trunks, harnesses and water buckets. Creating necessary equipment for soldiers was a specialized focus within this trade. The equipment would include sword scabbards, pistol buckets (a leather holster that keeps a pistol dry), and cartridge boxes. Roy will demonstrate how to create leather ammunition cases and accessories used by New England militia soldiers. A seasoned living historian and Rhode Island native, Najecki has been producing 18th century military accoutrements since 1980 and has demonstrated his work at many historic sites across New England, including Minuteman National Historical Park. The program runs from 10am-2pm; admission is free, donations are welcome.